When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split a few years, their press announcement that they were going to “consciously uncouple” was mocked in the media, but the idea of divorcing happily is not just for the rich and famous among us.
Using alternative dispute resolution
methods to resolve the issues arising from a separation is something that Macnabs encourage many of their clients to try. Around 42% of first marriages across the UK now end in divorce. The end of a marriage or relationship can be difficult enough, and the traditional (and confrontational) divorce action often adds to the pain.
Committing to using collaborative practice to resolve the issues enables couples to work with their lawyers, through a series of joint meetings, to achieve a bespoke resolution that fits their family circumstances. As part of that process, everyone commits that they will not resort to using the court process, but will work together to sort things out. Collaborative practice lawyers will often work together with family counsellors, and a financial expert to ensure there is a holistic approach to the family’s needs, and support around all their needs, prioritising the needs of any children of the relationship.
A court action can stressful, and often expensive. Sometimes it is the only way forward, but it must be borne in mind that by asking a judge to decide on issues affecting your family, you are relinquishing control of the outcome. A court can make orders, and outline principle, but cannot micromanage, or help repair fractured relationships.
Macnabs advise our clients on the full range of options to assist you through your separation- it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. We will often advise clients about attending mediation. A mediator will facilitate discussion between you and your former partner around a number of issues. Sometimes that is focussed on improving communication, or even just finding channels of communication when things are fraught, but sometimes we will refer cases to a legally trained mediator, who advises both parties alongside each other, where that is appropriate.
Where a negotiated resolution is not possible, or where it would be helpful to have a decision on a contentious issue, which might pave the way to a resolution, it is possible to arbitrate rather than litigate. The arbitration process is confidential, bespoke, and can be far faster than a court. Macnabs can advise fully on that process, further details of which can be found on the FLAGS website.
While it is never easy saying goodbye to a relationship, if done correctly, and with good advice, it can be a positive time of moving forward, ensuring a civilised and respectful resolution with your former partner, and maintaining both the ability to co-parent successfully, and a civil relationship in the future.