Have a good ‘out of court’ divorce with Wards Solicitors
Did you know that we help the vast majority of our clients totally avoid court when negotiating their divorce settlement?
You heard right. No hostile courtroom battles, no huge litigation bills, no taking on your ex-spouse in aggressive and distressing exchanges that live with you forever.
With overstretched family courts now facing huge backlogs and long delays, this year’s Good Divorce Week, instigated by the family law organisation, Resolution, is highlighting all the different ways couples can resolve their disputes away from court.
In fact, here at Wards Solicitors, we see our family law work as an alternative to court, settling cases either by direct negotiation, mediation or using the collaborative approach. It’s something we already do. Every day.
How do we settle your divorce out of court?
A mutual desire for an amicable divorce, and a willingness to work together to ensure this, is the first hugely important step.
When things get difficult, we can still advise and support you through the steps needed to reach agreement without going to court.
The main reason couples end up in court is because they can’t resolve financial matters by agreement.
But court is a last resort and not the only option. There are other less stressful and often quicker ways you can decide how to deal with your finances in your divorce. This can also save costs.
- Direct negotiation: We advise and negotiate on your behalf by letter, by phone call and, if your former partner has a solicitor, by round the table discussions with you both present; We deal with cases where your former partner may also be represented by a solicitor some of the time, all of the time or not at all.
- Collaboration: You and your ex, and your respective solicitors, agree to work towards a solution without going to court, signing up to a collaborative process which might also involve other trained professionals like a family consultant and financial advisor;
- Mediation: A trained mediator sits down with you to try to find areas where there is common ground and help you resolve difficulties about finances or children. We can advise you as you participate in mediation and then draw up an agreement which is formalised by a court order in a divorce or in a Separation Agreement.
How do mediation and collaboration work?
Case history 1: Sally and Mark – Collaborative law.
“I thought everyone who got divorced went to court, I’d never heard of collaborative law” – Sally
Sally and Mark had been married for 25 years when they decided, at Sally’s instigation, to separate. They had two children, one grown up and married and the other aged 16 and still at school.
They were both keen to keep their divorce on as friendly a basis as possible and after Mark’s solicitor talked to him about collaborative law, they both agreed this was a way forward that could work well for them.
The couple wanted speed because they had a sale agreed on their home but were also concerned about their daughter, who was finding the split extremely difficult and upsetting.
As a result, both Sally and Mark and their solicitors sat down together to work out a way forward everyone was happy with. They were able to discuss their shared concerns for their daughter and how best to prioritise her needs.
At the end of the process, the couple both compromised but were happy with the agreement reached. Most importantly, they still respected each other and were able to continue to meet up with the children without brooding resentment and hostility affecting the family dynamic.
Sally says: “One of the most important things for me was that the children saw our divorce as fair. And they do.”
Mark says: “I felt very sad but I knew it was time to move on. We can all still meet up for birthdays and for dinner. We can all still be together as a family. That means more than words can say.”
Case history 2: Ellie and Hamza – how mediation helped us avoid court
“Compromise no longer seemed like letting the other person win” – Hamza
When Ellie and Hamza, who have a two-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, first came to mediation they couldn’t agree on anything and Hamza felt Ellie was trying to block him out of the children’s’ lives.
They were both very angry with each other which was halting any meaningful discussions about how to settle their divorce in anything even approaching a mutually acceptable way.
Mediation was suggested by their solicitors. Initially, Ellie and Hamza had separate sessions with the mediator and then, when they were both happy, began a series of joint sessions.
Ellie says: “I was very sceptical that mediation could possibly work for us. We couldn’t even be in the same room together without arguing and the only thing each of us cared about was scoring points and getting our own way.”
The mediator explained the ground rules – they would never be left alone together and that listening, patience and respect were all key. The couple would lead the conversation and the mediator would simply keep them on track.
Hamza says: “The mediator was able to help us look at each other’s perspectives and ease us over the sticking points and because we listened to each other, compromise no longer seemed like letting the other person win.”
The couple were able to agree a parenting plan and financial arrangements and proceed to divorce without going to court as well as actually improving their ongoing relationship because of the mediation process.
Get in touch
Good Divorce Week 2022 runs from 28 November to 2 December. It’s organised by Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce, separation and other family problems.
All Wards Solicitors’ Family Law and Divorce lawyers are Resolution members and fully committed to its Parenting through Separation Guide, aimed at ensuring more families separate amicably with the best interests of the children.
We have lawyers who specialise in collaborative family law. It’s always worth checking before instructing a lawyer as not all firms offer collaboratively trained specialists.