Family law war: what is it good for?


Kerseys shares why it's important to consider mediation and other alternative methods - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Matt Clemence from Kerseys shares alternatives to court proceedings.

Having made one of the most difficult decisions of your life, it is easy to think you have no alternative but to choose the adversarial option of instructing a solicitor to “fight” for your rights in order to “win” what you can get from your “opponent” in the breakdown of your marriage or relationship.

There is another way, which is far more dignified, fair and minimises the emotional distress of all those involved – especially where children are concerned. These include:

A voluntary and confidential process in which an impartial mediator helps parties reach decisions through structured discussion-led communication.

Collaborative law:
A roundtable forum where settlements are reached in a non-confrontational way without court involvement, based upon agenda-led discussion between parties assisted by collaborative trained solicitors.

Save for financial disclosure, everything discussed and presented in these meetings is privileged and confidential, which encourages everyone to speak openly in order to try and find solutions which work for both parties. Should the process breakdown, the parties must seek representation from new solicitors, which often means the parties are more committed to trying to find solutions.

A similar process to collaborative. Discussion is agenda-led and the parties and their lawyers work through the issues in a non-confrontational style. The lawyers can also assist with any legal-based questions and the process can also involve outside experts such as accountants and financial advisors who are neutral in the process and are able to provide broad-brush advice and solutions to issues which overlap with their area of expertise.

In these types of alternative dispute resolution, the parties retain control over their decisions (that control is lost once judges are involved). By being in control, you remove the uncertainty and unpredictability of court-led outcomes.

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There are no court imposed timetables, allowing parties the freedom to work their issues out at their own pace whilst also allowing the parties to be creative and think outside the box in coming up with solutions which best fit their circumstances.

Considering these alternative methods of resolution can maintain effective communication between the parties, which often produces positive outcomes thereby reducing the risk of entrenched positions and conflict. For more information, call 01473 213311 or visit

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Kereys Solicitors logo - Credit: Kereys Solicitors

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