Divorcing couples can now choose arbitration, as opposed to the Court, to settle financial disputes arising from their separation.
With 130 qualified arbitrators in England and Wales now, one of the real advantages of this system is that it allows a couple to choose their “judge”, in the certain knowledge that once this person is selected he or she will see the case through to the conclusion. Arbitration gives control of the process to the couple themselves, allowing them to choose how matters are resolved.
A qualified arbitrator, such as Napthens’ partner Simon Gledhill, is a specialist in the field of family finance law. At the commencement of arbitration both parties agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s award. Arbitrations are flexible and can be undertaken in relation to the whole case or just on specific issues. Once an award is made by the arbitrator it is sent to the court for approval/sealing.
The courts have recently given a resounding seal of approval to the arbitration process, stating that the process is so sophisticated it is difficult to contemplate a case where an arbitration award would not be approved by the court.
The benefits of arbitration are substantial: It is likely to be considerably quicker than the court process and therefore can be much less costly than pursuing court proceedings; the venue for the arbitration hearings can be chosen and agreed; and arbitration is a confidential process, which includes the arbitration award.
Arbitration is now proving a successful alternative to the over-stretched judicial process, giving divorcing couples the opportunity to take control of the breakdown of their financial relationship in a way which has never been available before.