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Expert urges divorcing couples to look at alternatives to court

A family law expert has urged separating couples to look at alternatives to court – as new figures show there is a significant lack of awareness of the other options available.
Only half of British adults would consider trying a non court-based solution, according to figures from Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce and separation.

Simon Gledhill, partner and head of the Family team at Lancashire law firm Napthens, said the findings were ‘surprising’ and said more should be done to promote such methods.

He explained: “Legal professionals are required under court rules to consider mediation before making a court application during a divorce. Other routes that do not involve the court system are arbitration and collaborative law, both of which aim to help couples and their families to reduce the cost and levels of upset a lengthy court process can bring.

“Mediation, for instance, involves an independent expert meeting with a couple to help them reach agreement; Arbitration will involve a trained arbitrator who will make a binding decision between parties on financial and property disputes, while Collaborate law sees both parties involved in a divorce appoint their own collaboratively trained lawyer to meet and resolve issues face to face.

“Every year there are thousands of successful separations that have not required a court’s decision and it is surprising that people are still not clear about the alternatives. I believe more must be done by the legal profession to advise clients on the options available to them from an early stage.”