I am writing this blog at the start of Family Dispute Resolution Week. This is an annual event arranged by Resolution, a body of 6,500 Family Lawyers who are committed to dealing with issues that arise from separation and divorce in a non-confrontational way. There are events being held up and down the country to publicise the week and to make sure that members of the public are aware that a divorce/separation does not have to result in a Court battle.
The theme this year is the effect that separation has on children, who are all too often caught in the middle. Their needs are overlooked. There are plenty of options that avoid Court battles. Mediation of course is one that is now known to many people. In addition, there is collaborative law which Resolution has backed the introduction of over the past ten years into the United Kingdom and has been responsible for training all the Collaborative Lawyers in England and Wales. Collaborative Law sees the parties and their solicitors entering into a binding agreement not to go to Court. Solutions are negotiated round a table face to face. The solicitors will assist the couple in finding a solution that suits their entire family and, speaking from experience, it is not unusual in a collaborative scenario for the solicitor of one party to end up arguing the case of the other and vice versa. The effect of this is that the parties get a better understanding of the other’s position and a better understanding of the children’s position and the concerns that they might be having.
Very few collaborative cases fail. The outcome is nearly always that the
parties maintain a constructive and civilised relationship going forward which
is crucial for most families.
You can follow coverage of FDR week on Twitter using the hashtag #childrenfirst
Written by Stephen Root of Berwins Solicitors.