Family Arbitration for divorce can rescue a non-adversarial divorce from crumbling into a nasty expensive court battle, so should more mediators and collaborative lawyers be paying attention to it as a resource for their clients?
Family Arbitration is the new kid on the block in the UK divorce community, and the potential benefits to divorcing clients are immense.
When a Mediation or a Collaborative Law process fails to bring agreement on all aspects of the divorce, instead of ending up in court – where the whole process is unravelled and begins right back where you started, losing all the agreements already made – with a Divorce Arbitrator that single sticking point can be resolved. And quickly (compared to waiting months for a court date). At least it can for Mediation – currently the rules in the UK prevent the collaborative process from continuing on after that sticking point has been resolved, whereas with mediation the couple can pick up where they left off.
Even if a financial planner gives clear advice on how a pension should be split or the division of property assets, it may take the inclusion of an Arbitrator into the divorce process to provide the couple with the legally binding decision they are unable to agree on mutually together. And the decision of the couple to choose their arbitrator and to enter into the process, which will generate a binding decision, will allow the rest of the dispute resolution process to remain valid. When a couple appoint an arbitrator they can define many of the issues that they ask the arbitrator to determine and so are able to retain and build upon the work done up to that point. In other words, all the areas that the couple have managed to agree on will still stand – which will not be the case if they head for the courtrooms.
Family Arbitration provides an excellent alternative to going to court – cheaper, quicker, and possibly fairer, bearing in mind how some family court judges have far less training and expertise in family law than a qualified Divorce Arbitrator does. Also the couple can choose their Arbitrator, picking one who is specialised in the required legal area, and they are still in control of their divorce process, which will have such a huge impact on their lives. If they go to court – then they do not choose the Judge, have no way to reject a judge who doesn’t have the level of expertise to make legal decisions about their case that a qualified Arbitrator will have, and it can take months instead of weeks to get the decision finalised.
Not only do the general public need to understand the benefits of the Arbitration process, but so do the divorce solicitors, as it is another tool in the divorce tool-box that can benefit their clients.
It will be interesting to see how many Divorce Solicitors in the UK will recommend Family Arbitration as a good option for those couples who are struggling to come to an agreement on a financial or legal issue.
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SuzyMillerCreator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
6th March 2022
1st January 1970
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