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Divorce: choosing the right approach for you Divorce: choosing the right approach for you

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Mar 24

Divorce: choosing the right approach for you

Written by Carmelita Ardren
Head of Family, Children and Divorce

DDI: 01423 724 639
M: 07854 312652
E: carmelita.ardren@raworths.co.uk

Raworths’ Head of Family Carmelita Ardren highlights some options available when considering divorce.

Is there such a thing as a ‘good divorce’? We think there can be.

A ‘good divorce’ we see as being characterised by both parties considering the result to meet the needs of the parties and, most importantly, the children and looking to a future where children can see their parents acting in their best interests, despite the breakdown of the marriage. When children are involved, maintaining open communication can make a huge difference to their experience of the divorce and their long term future emotionally and socially.

The impact of a divorce on a family is all encompassing. It is a point of absolute crisis for everyone, effecting their home, lifestyle and future of the family, their friends and regular contacts. However, there are different options available and together with those involved we will work through those, aspiring to be as non-acrimonious as possible, wherever the situation allows.

The law relating to a financial settlement on divorce can be highly complex and one of the reasons for this is because family law is highly discretionary and no two cases are the same. There is no accurate calculator that will tell you what a fair financial settlement will look like and the settlement your friend or colleague got is no indication of what your financial settlement will look like.

Whilst this may create some uncertainty it means that your settlement can be tailored to meet your needs and those of the children having regard to your unique circumstances.

In order for us to keep suitable cases out of court, from the moment we start working with a client we look at whether there are opportunities for guidance, divorce coaching and independent financial advice. In working together like this, we are able to create a relationship with our client that has their needs and wants at the centre of all we do, finding solutions to individual circumstances.

Most importantly, this approach will save time, money and have less impact emotionally and so those options are always preferable, though of course it might not always be appropriate. Each and every case is different and we want to find the right solution for your individual circumstances.

There are many options to explore to keep a case out of court and enable you to retain some control over the decisions made and reach the right outcome. Indeed the new Family Procedure Rules about to take effect in April 2024 mean that a judge will encourage and expect both parties to have addressed why alternative methods of resolving matters have not been considered first. Whichever option you decide to pursue, the starting point is always everyone having a clear understanding as to your respective financial positions.

Mediation

Mediation is ideal where you need help with communication. Mediators can provide you both with information, but not advice – so you will still need a solicitor to provide advice (that can be taken separately in between sessions or at the mediation itself if you have your solicitors with you in a hybrid mediation arrangement). Any agreement will still need to be made legally binding between you both if you are able to reach an agreement

Collaborative law

This works when you both instruct a specially trained collaborative family lawyer to help you both in a series of four way meetings finding positive solutions and giving advice to you both around the table as to the parameters for agreement. It is not intended to be combative meetings but an opportunity to clarify, understand and negotiate positively. This can be turned into a court order if an agreement is reached.

Solicitor led negotiation

The purpose of this is to try and reach an agreement without court in circumstances where the other options might not be appropriate. This can take the form of proposals or round table meetings. It still allows matters to proceed to court/arbitration if there is an impasse.

Arbitration

This is essentially a private court process if agreement cannot be reached. It can happen at a time and venue suitable for you and address all or part of the issues that are important to your circumstances. The decision is binding on you both.

Resolution Together

A relatively new option for the right cases with one lawyer and the couple together. This can work where there is a good understanding of the family finances, no concerns about exploitation of a dominant position and each party seeks a scope of settlement options rather than specific individual advice.

 

We know too that a good divorce doesn’t just end with the final divorce order, where children are involved these decisions have an impact for years to come and we want to try to prepare everyone for the future. A ‘good divorce’ will leave all family members in a balanced and fair place, having had a part in the decision making process and looking forward to the future as quickly and painlessly as possible.

How to contact us

If you would like to discuss any of the options highlighted in this article, please contact Carmelita Ardren, Head of Family at Raworths at email carmelita.ardren@raworths.co.uk

More information about some of these options and Raworths Family Law team are on this link

Published on 22 March 2024

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