Friday, 29 November 2013

Courts are not the only way

Our family law expert is concerned that divorcing couples would apparently head straight for the courts rather than consider the alternatives available.

Nadia Davis is the family law partner at our head office in Euston Way, Telford, and she has now qualified as one of the very first collaborative lawyers in the county.

“My new qualification means I work with couples going through a divorce on an agreement that shows they are committed to finding the best solutions through negotiation, rather than the courts. The agreement also prevents lawyers involved in the initiative from representing their client in court if the collaborative process breaks down. So this means everyone involved is absolutely committed to making it work,” said Nadia.

But sadly this alternative route to resolve disputes has not been adopted by everyone, and national research shows some worrying figures.

“A poll of over 4,000 British adults was commissioned by Resolution, an organisation for family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales,” said Nadia.

“And the statistics showed that only 51 per cent of those who responded would consider a non-court based solution. This is particularly disappointing as mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution provide a much more cost-effective and faster route when compared to time-consuming court proceedings.”

Nadia said the family court system was coming under increasing strain and that raising awareness of alternative approaches could solve a lot of problems.

“One of the benefits of the collaborative process is that it is not driven by a timetable imposed by a court. The process can be built around each family’s individual timetable and priorities, and sometimes only a handful of meetings may be required to resolve the case, which really is a much quicker way to deal with divorce.

“One of the biggest fears for anyone who is going through a family breakdown is the potential costs they may face, and our fixed fee structure, combined with the new collaborative approach, gives our clients a much clearer picture of how things are likely to proceed.”