Getting divorced – finding the right approach for you
The breakdown of a relationship is an emotional and confusing time, particularly when it comes to thinking about how to manage the legal aspects in a way that you are comfortable with. Here are some of the options available:
There are a lot of companies offering online divorce for a fixed fee. At first glance these can appear to be a quick and relatively cheap option. Caution is needed though, because the fixed fee will only cover the basics – and very few divorces ultimately fall within this basic package. Even if things seem straightforward at the start, issues will crop up that neither of you were prepared for. When that happens, it can be helpful (and often cheaper) to have a family solicitor supporting you who knows your case and personal priorities. In fact, a good solicitor will have pre-empted many of these “issues” before they became a problem.
Mediation is designed to support couples who want to reach agreements together, rather than negotiating via a solicitor. Family solicitors can also work with couples alongside mediation. The mediator is an impartial third party who will keep the discussions on track and make sure both sides are given the opportunity to have their voices heard. Once the mediation process is complete, a Memorandum of Understanding is drawn up which you can take to your solicitors so that the necessary legal documents can be drawn up and processed. Reaching agreements through mediation can help keep down legal costs but it isn’t suited to everyone.
Collaborative Law is a process that involves face to face meetings between the couple and their collaboratively trained legal representatives. Each spouse will appoint a collaborative lawyer and the four of you will have meetings to discuss the details of your financial settlement, arrangements for children and any other practicalities. Independent financial advisers, counsellors and other experts may become involved during the process if you choose. For Collaborative Law to work, both parties must be committed to reaching agreements without going to court.
Out of court divorce
It is still possible to divorce without going to court even if mediation or Collaborative Law are not for you. Look for a solicitor who is a member of Resolution, like Clark Family Law. We have chosen to keep our firm small so that we can offer a very personalised approach to separation and divorce. As members of Resolution we are committed to conducting negotiations in a constructive and non-confrontational way and avoiding inflammatory approaches, either written or verbally. We believe very strongly that open and positive communication leads to a more satisfactory and fairer outcome for everyone. We also encourage our clients to put their children’s best interests first at all times.
It is important to choose a solicitor whose approach matches the way you would like to proceed. For advice on any of the processes mentioned above please call Clark Family Law on 01423 637 272.