Alternatives to Court when Trying to Resolve Matters after Separation

Posted 01 September 2016 by Dawn Pennell

Dawn Pennell of Capron & Helliwell solicitors considers the alternatives to Court when trying to resolve matters after separation

Alternatives to Court include attending mediation, dealing with your matter in a collaborative way or having it referred to arbitration.

Mediation is a voluntary process. A trained mediator guides you and your partner through discussions to ultimately reach agreement. While going through the mediation process it is sensible to take legal advice too. Agreements are not legally binding but are usually converted into a Court Order so that they become binding and enforceable if that is what you both want.

Arbitration is private judging. Before arbitration starts you both sign an agreement that you will abide by the Arbitrator’s decision. You also agree that the decision will be turned into a Court Order.

Dealing with your matter in a collaborative way involves you both instructing collaborative lawyers who work with you and your former partner together to resolve the situation. The aim is to achieve a fair resolution of the issues for everyone involved and the collaborative lawyers will work in a non-confrontational way. You, your former partner and the two collaborative lawyers sign an agreement that they will not go to Court to resolve matters. Almost everything is dealt with at meetings and it is possible to bring experts such as financial experts or family consultants into the process.

If Court proceedings are ultimately issued there is a requirement that you must at least explore the possibility of an alternative method of dispute resolution by attending a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). However, in some cases a MIAM may not be suitable.

What is best for you may not be best for someone else so seeking legal advice on what is appropriate for you is prudent.

Dawn Pennell is a Chartered Legal Executive and Collaborative Lawyer dealing with family law matters at Capron & Helliwell.

Capron & Helliwell are continuing to hold free family law clinics at the Firm’s Stalham office and also at the Community Centre in North Walsham on Thursday mornings – for details or to book an appointment please contact Tina Phillippo on 01692-581231 or email her at

This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that any law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice.

Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer a range of legal services at the firm’s Stalham and Wroxham offices near North Walsham and Norwich in Norfolk. The firm specialises in areas including family law, conveyancing and private client law including wills and probate. Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer free family law clinics – please call 01692 581231 for further details or to make an appointment.

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