Alternatives to Court
Many separating couples are reluctant to ensure that any agreement reached is fair, as they do not want to engage in lengthy negotiations resulting in court hearings. However, below we explain some alternatives to consider, to ensure that you can achieve a fair and reasonable agreement upon separation:-
We would strongly advise parties to attempt to negotiate through solicitors initially, in an attempt to avoid future court intervention.
Solicitor negotiations can be an effective way of reaching a settlement amicably. If an agreement can be reached, solicitors can then formalise it with the necessary documentation, before sending it to the court for their approval. Given that an agreement has already been reached, this in turn is largely a paper based exercise and you should not need to attend Court but will have the benefit of a formal court order setting out your agreement.
In family mediation, a qualified neutral mediator will assist you both to help you to reach an agreement.
As the mediator is a neutral party, they will be unable to advise either party, but you can obtain legal advice from your solicitor throughout this process.
If mediation is not successful, they can provide you with required form for a court application to show that you have attempted mediation. This is a requirement for any court application.
The collaborative process is not something which is used on a regular basis but allows you to both work together, with your solicitors, to try to reach an amicable agreement.
At the outset of this process both parties and their respective solicitors will sign an agreement to not take matters to Court during the collaborative process. This provides you both with the assurance that you are focused on reaching an agreement to meet the needs of the family without attending Court.
If court intervention does become necessary, both parties will need to instruct new legal advisers.
- Separation Agreement
If you and your partner make the decision to separate but to delay the divorce proceedings, an informal separation agreement can help you to achieve an agreement in relation to the finances in the meantime.
You will both remain legally married and if you do decided to engage in formal divorce proceedings later down the line, you will need to address the finances at that stage. However, it is usual for the agreement previously reached in the separation agreement to be mirrored in the formal consent order.
- Do nothing
We would strongly advise against this option but you can of course do nothing following the breakdown of your marriage and your separation.
There are of course risks to taking this option and you will continue to be financially tied with your estranged partner.
If you have recently separated from your partner and are concerned about what to do next and the best approach for you to take, we can discuss the options with you in more detail and ensure that the process is as stress-free as possible.