I can assist you in a wide range options for resolving your family law issues
- Collaborative Law
- Legal Process
- Finding your Way Forward
- Med-Arb for Lawyers
- Med-Arb for Clients
An excellent solution for addressing “sticking points” in the negotiations
Family arbitration is an innovative option for resolving financial disputes arising from family breakdown. Long familiar from civil disputes, the arbitration process has only been available for separating couples since the beginning of 2012.
Arbitration has many advantages for those who are looking to obtain a binding decision on family matters, outside the court process. Arbitration gives privacy, allowing parties to deal with the proceedings behind closed doors. You have the freedom to choose your own arbitrator, knowing that they will be an expert in family law. Within the arbitration process, you know that you will have the same arbitrator throughout your case, rather than having a different judge at each hearing, who may or may not be fully aware of what has happened at earlier stages. Your arbitrator will have all the time they need to deal with your case properly, with every opportunity to prepare for each hearing in advance and to ensure that they give an informed and balanced decision. Sadly, in the current climate, this is not always the case at court. The procedure is much more flexible than within the court process, so you can focus on the matters that are really relevant to your own case, rather than wasting costs dealing with steps or issues that neither party really finds helpful. Crucially, you can set your own timescale, arranging hearings for times and dates that suit you, and knowing that there will be no unnecessary delays or adjournments.
Arbitration can be used in conjunction with mediation, to resolve any final issues that have not been successfully addressed. In the past, if mediation broke down, the parties had little choice but to apply to the court to decide the case. This could be hugely frustrating, if agreement had been reached on all but a few points, as once the matter went to court, it was often necessary to ‘start from scratch’ in looking at the arrangements, and to incur high costs in doing so. With the advent of arbitration, there is now another option. For a single sticking point within negotiations where agreement cannot be reached, that single point can be referred to an arbitrator for a decision. The arbitrator will give a swift and cost proportionate resolution, without derailing the whole process of mediation negotiations.
To undergo arbitration, both parties have to agree that they will engage in the process and that they will be bound by the arbitrator’s award. The first step will be for a referral to be made to IFLA, the Institute of Family Law Arbitration, who will then allocate your case, either to your nominated arbitrator, or to an appropriately qualified arbitrator in your area. Once the arbitrator accepts the referral, they will then liaise with both parties to agree the procedure to be adopted in your case, and to look at the next steps needed to move matters forward. Almost always, it will be necessary for both parties to exchange financial information. At the conclusion of your case, you will be given a final award, which would generally then be endorsed by the court, and will constitute a legally binding and enforceable decision.
For a comparison of the dispute resolution options follow the link to our compare your options page.