There are many alternatives to family court. For too many people, a bad situation gets worse if and when matters end up in a family court. There are at least twelve different options that are available to you; many of them work together, and all of them will save you time, money and a lot of stress. Courts are underfunded and overburdened and for many the stress of being part of the court process can have devastating effects on the family, particularly the children. As the senior judges and family law professionals keep telling us, “There are no winners in family court.”

Timing On Divorce Or Separation

It’s very difficult to get the timing right for getting on with the actual practical process of sorting out a separation. Sorting out the finances, the property, assets, debts and, most importantly, the children takes energy at a time when it is in short supply. If you can, take your time to find out what options are available to you in your situation and which would give you and your family the best outcomes for moving forward.

Getting Professional Advice

If you do need to engage some professional advice make sure they work exclusively in the area of family law and/or they belong to an accredited organisation; have a look at what they specialise in and, most importantly, always have a chat with them first on the phone to see if you like them. If you are engaging a family lawyer for the first time ask them to explain to you what your options are – today there are many ways to separate and it’s important you pick the right route for you.

You will find lots of support on this hub on the alternatives available and tips on how to choose the right professional for you.

Specialisms

Arbitration

Arbitration

If you find that you and your ex simply can’t make a decision on one or all issues, then you need a decision-maker, this is where Arbitration comes in. Sadly,...

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Arbitration Mediation

Arbitration Mediation

Arb Med (Arbitration-Mediation) What is it? Arb Med is a combination of arbitration and mediation. The order is important. First, you’d instruct an arbitrator who would direct that you attend...

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Child Inclusive Mediation

Child Inclusive Mediation

A child-inclusive mediator (CIM) is a specially trained mediator talks and listens to your children. Usually, but not always, the child inclusive mediator will be separate to your mediator or...

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Collaborative Practice

Collaborative Practice

Collaborative Practice is where specially trained lawyers work together to help you both sort things out; they will never work against each other or try to win; they will not...

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Early Neutral evaluation

Early Neutral evaluation

What is Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)? You both agree it would be helpful to ask (or instruct) a neutral person to tell you (in person/Zoom or in writing) what might...

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Hybrid Mediation

Hybrid Mediation

Hybrid (or lawyer assisted, or supported or integrative) mediation What is it? Where one or both of you have your lawyers present in mediation. The lawyer(s) can be there all...

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Mediation

Mediation

Mediation is where a highly trained person provides you and your ex with assistance to sort things out. You usually meet the mediator on your own so they can see...

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Private FDR Judging

Private FDR Judging

What is Private FDR Judging? This is more formal than a straightforward early neutral evaluation and will usually mimic the court procedure. The process allows you to either step away...

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Round Table

Round Table

A Round Table meeting is where lawyers and you feel it’s a good idea to meet ‘around the table’ or online together. Sometimes this is called ‘collab lite’ as the...

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Solicitor Neutral

Solicitor Neutral

A solicitor neutral is where a solicitor acts in a neutral and directive way to assist both of you. In the first instance, the solicitor neutral ought to carry out...

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External Resources

(Almost) Anything But Family Court

An easy-to-read book outlining all the options open to separating couples.

Family Mediation Council

The Family Mediation Council (FMC) have a commitment to maintaining the high standards of family mediation. The FMC ensures family mediators adhere to a Code of Practice. This Code of Practice, updated by the FMC in November 2018, outlines the aims, objectives and scope of family mediation. The Code also details the general principles of family mediation, as well as the training and standards which can be expected of all Family Mediation Council mediators.