• Posted

People often use the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one to evaluate their lives. This can result in someone deciding that they are unhappy in a relationship and they want out.

Separation of any kind is rarely welcome, but when it is brought about by the end of a relationship, it can be particularly difficult. However, whether you are divorcing, dissolving a civil partnership, separating after living together or dividing up jointly owned assets, it doesn’t have to be acrimonious or confrontational.

One option is to use the collaborative process which involves both parties and their solicitors (both of whom must be collaboratively trained) entering into a written agreement which commits all of them to dealing with a case in an open, honest, respectful and non confrontational way. Everyone involved in the process is committed to reaching a conclusive agreement in all areas of the dispute, whether they are in relation to the dissolution of the relationship, arrangements for children or finances.

The collaborative approach won’t be right for everyone and it is important to seek professional advice and to explore all the options of how to ensure the dispute is handled in the best way taking account all of the parties involved. Some cases require a solicitor led approach to ensure one party is not unfairly treated. Others will be better managed by you and your former partner reaching agreement with the help of a mediator, with advice from lawyers in the background.

Arbitration is another effective tool. If there is a financial issue where a resolution is needed sooner than the court system can allow or there is one discreet issue that needs adjudicating on, then this could be a speedier option as you are able to buy in the services of an adjudicator who can consider the issues and then hand down a legally binding determination that can be incorporated into a consent order to be filed with the court in proceedings where relevant.

The family team at Debenhams Ottaway specialise in all aspects of divorce work, pre-nuptial agreements, living together agreements and issues involving children of separating couples. Two of our solicitors are collaboratively trained.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.