Separation can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone involved. Many couples assume that they will have to go to Court but, for most, this is not necessary. There are a number of alternatives to resolve your dispute.
Traditionally, most separations are resolved by solicitor negotiation. This involves each spouse instructing their own family solicitor and negotiations normally take place by an exchange of emails/letters until an overall agreement can be reached. At that point, the Separation Agreement is prepared and signed by each spouse. Usually the only meetings which take place are between each spouse and their own solicitor.
Introduced in Scotland in 2004, Collaborative Law offers couples a more dignified and flexible approach to resolving matters, particularly important where there are children involved.
Having qualified as a Collaborative Lawyer in 2011, I can offer this service to my clients.
From the outset, the two parties sign up to the Collaborative process, agreeing that they will not go to Court and are committed to resolving their dispute collaboratively. This is done by a series of four-way meetings, which take place between the spouses and their respective solicitors. The meetings are structured and an agenda will be agreed before each one. Routine tasks such as instructing valuations for property are shared, reducing duplication and minimising time and costs.
Similarly, unlike more traditional negotiations or Court, the parties and their solicitors are free to be more flexible and creative during their discussions and can tailor an outcome to suit their family.
More information on the process can be found at www.consensus-scotland.com.
Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties need to be willing to participate. In mediation, you jointly instruct one qualified solicitor-mediator and will attend sessions with the mediator together, to discuss the issues which need resolved and work towards an agreeable solution.
A Separation Agreement will still need to be prepared and you should both still instruct your own family solicitor who can draft that to reflect what you agreed in the mediation sessions and provide advice before it is signed.
Again, I can provide further advice here and help you identify a suitable solicitor-mediator.
More information on the mediation process can be found at www.calmscotland.co.uk.
A form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration is useful where there is a particular point which the parties have been unable to agree on during their negotiations and where neither Collaborative Law or Mediation are appropriate.
It may be that you cannot agree on the care of the children, how much aliment should be paid or what the matrimonial assets are.
Instead of going to Court, the parties consult a qualified Arbitrator to determine the issues and agree to be bound by the Arbitrator’s decision, saving time and money.
Having qualified as a family law Arbitrator in 2020 and as a member of the Family Law Arbitration Scotland Group (FLAGS), I am currently the only qualified family law Arbitrator in Dundee and here to guide you through the process.
More information on the arbitration process can be found at www.flagsarb.com
For a free, no-obligation discussion about your situation, please get in touch…
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