13th Jan 2022

Choosing the Right Pathway When Considering Divorce

Choosing the right pathway

It’s fair to say that, in the current climate, uncertainty abounds. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in different ways – alongside health, concerns about the future, finances and loved ones are commonly cited.

In many ways, as a family lawyer with over 30 years’ experience of supporting clients through one of the most uncertain times of their lives, these areas of concern are all too familiar to me. But, while none of us can know what a surge in Omicron cases may mean for us and those we love, an experienced lawyer can help those exploring the uncertainty of divorce.  


Getting the right advice

Daunting as it can be, the first step for anyone who feels their relationship has come to an end is to seek expert advice. A good lawyer can listen to your fears and your circumstances and help you find the right pathway for you. Google or a friend may be a starting point but be careful not to rely on them; all circumstances are unique and so are the solutions. 


Knowing the legal options open to you

Should you instruct a lawyer to support you through this challenging time, it’s important to remember that there are lot of options as to the best way forward. These include:

  • Letting the lawyers negotiate for you. This is a tried and tested traditional way of coming to an agreement.
  • Court proceedings. These can be very expensive, protracted and unsatisfactory. You also lose control of the outcome and are unlikely to be speaking to each other at the conclusion.
  • Arbitration. Similar in some senses to court proceedings but, as you choose the arbitrator, you have more control over the timetabling. This is likely to be more efficient and quicker than court proceedings.
  • Early neutral evaluation. Here you would jointly appoint a barrister to give you an assessment as to the strengths and weaknesses of your own cases and this can help you reach an informed decision.
  • A private FDR (“Family Dispute Resolution”). This is part of the court process, but you can arrange your own private FDR hearing, again choosing the person that will act as the judge. They will hear submissions from both parties and then give an indication as to what they think the outcome would be. You maintain control and put yourself in a position where you can make an informed offer.
  • Collaboration. You could use the collaborative law process to avoid court altogether and commit yourself and your lawyers to finding a solution face-to-face, round a table in a series of meetings.

Whatever your concerns, circumstances or goals, it’s important that you choose the best option for you and your family. That’s one of the reasons we offer clients ‘Berwins’ Pathway’ – a no obligation meeting which allows you to set out the future you want and us to advise you on the best way to get there.

While considering separation can be daunting at first, there is a solution and with proper professional advice, you can move forward with a measure of certainty guaranteed.


Stephen Root is a top ranked industry lawyer with over 30 years’ experience supporting separating couples.

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