Good Divorce Week 2022
What is Good Divorce Week?
Good Divorce Week is a campaign run by Resolution. The aim of Good Divorce Week this year is to highlight the crisis in the family courts and raise awareness of all the different ways families can resolve their disputes away from the Court. Resolution is a community of family law professionals who assist families and individuals to resolve issues in relation to divorce, children or finances, in a fair, constructive and practical manner whilst upholding the Resolution Code of Practice.
You can read more about Resolution’s Code of Practice here – https://resolution.org.uk/looking-for-help/code-of-practice/
Ellis Jones’ family lawyers are all members of Resolution. Asya Panchalieva (finance and private children law), Ian Butterworth (finance), and Claudie Paddick (child abduction private children law) are all Resolution accredited specialists. Deborah Leask is Resolution accredited in finance as well as a qualified Mediator. Katie Taft is also an experienced mediator for the Firm and Sean McNally practices collaborative law.
Why does it matter?
It might sound strange to categorise a divorce as a ‘good divorce’. However, it is important to remember that a divorce does not necessarily have to be acrimonious or the ‘battle’ that is often portrayed in the mainstream media. With the right support and legal advice, a divorce or separation can be dealt with in a fair, safe, constructive, amicable and cost-effective way and the parties can achieve an outcome that they are both happy with, rather than having an outcome imposed on them by the Court. There are considerable delays in the Courts at the moment and therefore, keeping the matter outside of court when it is safe and appropriate to do so is often in all parties best interests and should result in a swift resolution.
The objective of the Good Divorce Week in 2021 was to help raise awareness of Resolution’s Parenting Through Separation guide, which gives parents advice and practical tips to ensure family break-up has as little impact on children as possible. Whilst Children remain the court’s paramount consideration, the aim of the 2022 Good Divorce Week is to bring the current Family Court Crisis into light and spread awareness of alternate forms of dispute resolution.
What are alternative methods of dispute resolution?
There are various methods and different ways families can resolve their disputes without having to go to Court and Ellis Jones can guide you safely through that process.
Such methods can include:-
- Negotiation through lawyers – constructive conversations and negotiations can often happen at any point prior to issuing proceedings or during court proceedings. This can take place through letters, telephone calls or face to face round table meetings between the representatives from each side with the parties being present.
- Mediation – if conducted by an independent, professionally trained mediator, mediation can be extremely effective. A mediator is completely impartial and will help parties to negotiate their way to hopefully achieving a satisfactory outcome to their dispute. The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme introduced a family mediation voucher of £500 to families which can be contributed towards mediation costs. You can read more about the voucher scheme here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/family-mediation-voucher-scheme. Mediation can often help parties to determine what the real issues are and can decrease animosity, leading to better, more collaborative outcomes at a lower cost.
- Collaborative law – both parties instruct a collaboratively trained lawyer and enter into an agreement that commits them from trying to resolve the issues without going to court. This agreement confirms the parties will negotiate in good faith, in a transparent and open manner. Correspondence will often be kept to a minimum and face to face meetings will be held with all parties and their lawyers being present. The general collaborative practice is holistic and other professionals can also be involved, such as an independent financial adviser or family consultant.
- Arbitration – a more formal method of dispute resolution. A suitably qualified arbitrator adjudicates the dispute and gives a ruling. This method was made available following the launch of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. The decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties in the same manner as a court order. The same arbitrator will deal with all stages of the case from start to finish and you and your partner have the major say in how the proceedings are run. It is often more cost effective than court.
How can Ellis Jones help?
“It is difficult to imagine that a “good divorce” exists as this is, inevitably, a very emotional and difficult time for people. However, from a legal perspective, a good solicitor can help the parties navigate through this difficult time by making the process clearer, being objective and constructive. It is sometimes very easy to get lost into the emotional side of the breakdown and I believe our job is to keep the parties focused, to assist them in their parenting after parting and to encourage them to work together to solve the issues they may face, as difficult as this may seem. If the parties can do this, their divorce will be quicker, more amicable and will be kept out of Court.”
“I always breathe a sigh of relief when I know the lawyer representing my client’s spouse or ex-partner is adopting a pragmatic, collaborative and sensible approach to the dispute. It is becoming increasingly important for family lawyers and clients to recognise the importance of alternative dispute resolution and I am of the view that discussions should be had at the outset of any matter as to whether or not a dispute (children or finances) can be resolved without the need to issue court proceedings. This is of course sometimes not possible for various reasons but for the majority of clients it is absolutely an option that should be considered to avoid unnecessary stress, costs and delays.”
“Following Covid-19, the Family Courts are facing a crisis of significant delays in Court listings and administrative tasks. We are seeing these delays not only have an impact on the parties involved but also on the children. It is so important to raise awareness that there are various ways to manage the process of financial disputes and/or children matters. The process does not have to be the stereotypical ‘battle’ that is so often portrayed (i.e., by going through the Courts). Good Divorce Week is all about raising awareness of the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). At Ellis Jones, we encourage parties to consider resolving their matters outside of Court, provided it is safe and appropriate to do so. We do, however, recognise that in some cases ADR is not always appropriate.”
If you need advice or assistance from a family lawyer in relation to a divorce, finances or your children, please do not hesitate to contact a lawyer within our Family Team as they would be more than happy to help. Please call 01202 525333 or email MatrimonialDept@ellisjones.co.uk.
How can we help?
When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.