Collaborative Law, Mediation and Arbitration
As members of Resolution, a highly influential family law organisation, committed to changing policy and resolving family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner, our family law team can fully support you in alternative dispute resolution methods. These include Collaborative Law, Mediation, and Arbitration.
With over 20 years’ experience, founder and head of the family law department, Shabana Sultana leads a team that is smart, commercially astute, empathetic, and pragmatic in its approach. Focusing on non-confrontational dispute resolution methods does not mean we are anything less than robust and disciplined in achieving the best results for our clients.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a legal process which allows couples to appoint collaborative lawyers to assist them in working through issues related to their divorce without the involvement of the Court. Lawyers who participate in the collaborative process undergo special training.
The appointed lawyers minimise their use of phone calls and letters and instead negotiate agreements in four-way meetings. As a paperless office, the Collaborative Law process is completely compatible with our ethos.
Prior to the four-way meetings commencing, both parties are required to sign an agreement stating they will not issue court proceedings.
The benefits of collaborative law include:
- the outcomes reached are obtained between you and your spouse, allowing them to benefit the family as a whole
- improved communication between you and your spouse
- the expense and stress of Court proceedings is avoided
- because negotiations take place in person, identifying issues occurs much faster than when communication is done via letters, emails, and phone calls
- meeting in person, with the support of your Solicitor allows you and your spouse to come up with creative, win-win solutions in a flexible, respectful setting
If you wish to find out more about the Collaborative Law process, speak to one of our team who can quickly advise you if it is a suitable option for you.
How does mediation work in family law?
Mediation is a voluntary process a couple can enter into to resolve their family law dispute and is highly encouraged. Subject to some exceptions, couples must attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can issue proceedings in Court.
Family mediation is commonly used by couples who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting to resolve disputes relating to:
- divorce or dissolution of civil partnership.
- property and financial matters.
- children, including contact, residence, and financial arrangements.
In most cases, couples attend mediation without their solicitor and receive legal advice in-between sessions. However, there is nothing to prevent you from having one of our team present with you during mediation if doing so provides you with support and confidence.
There are three types of mediation:
- Sole mediation – this is the most common and involves the instruction of a single family mediator to moderate and facilitate dialogue between the parties.
- Co-mediation – this involves two mediators being appointed to work together in the mediation process. For example, one may facilitate mediation surrounding working out the financial settlement; the other will help the couple make arrangements for their children.
- Anchor mediation – this is a combination of sole mediation and co-mediation. Anchor mediation can be beneficial if there is a power imbalance between the couple and/or the issues to be mediated fall outside the expertise of a sole mediator.
Shabana and her team will provide you with complete support during mediation and assist you at the crucial preparation stage. In addition, we will identify critical issues that may come up in the process, giving you the knowledge and power to go back and discuss these in mediation.
What is family law arbitration?
The Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) launched the Family Law Arbitration Financial Scheme (Financial Scheme) in 2012, to provide arbitration for family law financial and property disputes. In 2016, IFLA launched the Family Law Arbitration Children Scheme for domestic disputes relating to children.
Arbitration involves an arbitrator reviewing the evidence presented and then deciding on a financial, property, and/or children’s matter. Unlike court proceedings, you can select an arbitrator who has experience in the area surrounding your disagreement. For example, if you and your partner are unable to reach an agreement on child arrangements, you can select an arbitrator who has direct experience in deciding on children’s issues.
Arbitration is generally quicker than court proceedings which results in costs savings. In addition, arbitration is more flexible than litigation and proceedings are private, meaning for high-net-worth and/or couples in the public eye, there is no risk of media intrusion.
Our family law solicitors have an in-depth understanding of the family law arbitration process and can provide sharp, persuasive advice and representation, supported by expert evidence.
Please call our office on 0203 741 9583 to make an appointment with Shabana or one of her team to discuss alternative dispute resolution methods for family law.