What is Family Arbitration?

September 30, 2014  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Family arbitration is a relatively recent addition to the options available to separating couples looking for an out-of-court solution. Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution that offers an efficient and legally binding method of separation, and while it works well as a stand-alone process it also has many benefits when used in association with mediation. Both solutions provide couples with more control and flexibility than a court divorce, and when used in conjunction, can help to ensure that all areas of separation are covered in both a personal and professional manner. You will need a separate mediator and arbitrator, as one solicitor cannot provide both services to one couple, but the benefit of having an extra objective opinion on your case may be what you need to work through your disputes quickly and efficiently.

family arbitration Thames Valley

At Frances Lindsay & Co we are lucky enough to have family arbitrators and mediators in our team of family law solicitors, and can advise when and how the combination of the two processes may help in family law cases. Mediation is a very effective way of working through a couple’s issues during separation, especially if there are children involved, but sometimes there will be sticking points when an agreement just can’t be reached independently. Arbitration fills this gap, providing a formal decision on financial issues and disputes, while still keeping the case in a private and collaborative space. Couples often choose mediation for a greater amount of autonomy over their separation, and so that the outcome of their case is not dictated by the court. However, there are times when a couple simply can’t agree, and just want someone to tell them what to do for the best – in this case, arbitration can act as an intermediary without undoing all the cooperative work mediation has achieved.

Family arbitration is private and discrete, providing an adaptable way for negotiating the many aspects of separation, including division of assets, property, businesses and pensions. An arbitrator’s decision is final and can offer a reassuring follow-up to sessions with a mediator-solicitor by tying up any loose ends and leaving each party feeling that their needs have been acknowledged, understood, and acted upon. Arbitration usually deals with financial issues and cannot be used to resolve disputes involving children, but the beauty of combining arbitration with mediation means that all aspects of a case can be settled in an appropriate manner.

Whether there is just one issue that needs resolving, or countless items that are in dispute, arbitration can be used as a fast and flexible alternative to court. And as the courts are stagnated with a back-log of cases following financial cuts, family law processes like arbitration and mediation are quickly becoming the cheapest and most efficient methods of separation for couples.

For more information on the various family law options for divorce and separation, please get in touch with our team at Frances Lindsay & Co. Frances Lindsay is the only fully qualified family law arbitrator in the Thames Valley and has a wealth of experience in mediation, family law and divorce. Let us take the weight off your shoulders and help you to find the best way to move forward.

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