Many couples about to embark on divorce and financial remedy proceedings are blissfully unaware that there are others forms of dispute resolution to help them resolve issues, such as who is to keep the family home or how pensions are to be divided.
An alternative route to traditional forms of financial remedy proceedings
Family courts are more stretched than they ever were previously and it’s no understatement to say that the family justice system is at breaking point. In light of this, it can take parties’ years to resolve their financial matters flowing from their divorce if they choose to go down the traditional route of financial remedy proceedings. However, there are other approaches.
Many people are completely unaware about arbitration and how it can be effectively used as an alternative ‘out of court’ method for resolving financial matters.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a form of formal dispute resolution that has been available for family law issues since March 2012 (although many people still don’t know this exists).
During arbitration, the parties enter into an agreement under which they appoint a suitably qualified person (an arbitrator) to adjudicate their dispute and make an award – essentially the outcome of your case is decided by a neutral arbitrator as if they were a judge in court.
What are the advantages of arbitration?
You choose your own judge
Once you’ve appointed your suitably qualified arbitrator (i.e. your judge), that same person will deal with your matter until the conclusion of your case, creating continuity.
Degree of flexibility
You have more control and flexibility over the proceedings and the decisions being made, i.e. you can have a say in respect of the time, date and venue for any hearings within the arbitration process.
Possibly one of the most favoured benefits with arbitration is that confidentiality can be assured, meaning national and regional press publications are unable to report on your case.
Keeping matters out of court
You can resolve issues in a non-confrontational way, that can save you time and money. Therefore, many people tend to prefer the arbitration process, as opposed to the timely, costly and significantly delayed financial court proceedings.
Is arbitration expensive?
While many wealthy and/or famous people choose to use arbitration to resolve their financial matters, it certainly isn’t exclusively for the rich and famous. Many couples have also turned to arbitration as they do not wish to have their life on hold for months (or even years!) whilst their financial remedy case makes its way through the painstakingly slow family judicial system, adding time and money.
How and when should I start arbitration?
If you are about to commence a divorce, make sure you speak to a specialist family lawyer about the alternatives to court proceedings. There are a number of helpful out-of-court ways to work together to sort out your finances that could save you a significant amount of time and money.
How we can help guide you through the process
Whichever route you decide to take, our experienced family lawyers will support you and equip you with the information and guidance you need to reach a solution that works for you.
If your relationship has recently broken down, and you’re finding it difficult to agree with your ex-partner regarding a financial settlement or childcare arrangements, then arbitration may allow you to reach a solution you’re both happy with, and more importantly, may save you costly court action.
To see how this process could work for you, please speak to a member of our local family law team.
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Helen works with clients to ensure that they are sensitively guided through the complex area of family and relationship breakdown.
Helen has over twenty years’ experience in advising clients in relation to family law issues.