Family Law Reforms 15 months on

Family Law had one of its biggest overhauls in April 2014.

It was described as “a cultural revolution”. Changes included cuts to legal aid and the requirement to attend Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAM) before pursuing matters through the courts.

So, what does it mean for those divorcing in 2015?

According to statistics, there are more than 118,000 divorces a year, with just under half affecting children younger than 16.

However, following the Family Law Reforms, the number of Financial Remedy Applications made to the courts dropped by 10% in 2014 compared to 2013.

The number of cases where both parties were represented by a solicitor fell dramatically. Statistics quote a fall of 42% in the last quarter of 2014, compared with the same in 2013.

Confusing and stressful

Going through a divorce process on your own must be confusing, stressful and time consuming.

One also wonders whether you can be confident of achieving the best outcome if facing a lawyer alone. And this is where Alternative Dispute Resolution options such as Collaborative Law may help.

Alternate Dispute Resolution & Collaborative Law

The Collaborative Law process allows separating couples to resolve issues on a face to face basis, through a series of meetings.

Each party appoints a specialist collaborative lawyer who is by their side at every meeting.

Everyone signs an agreement, promising to resolve issues directly rather than pursuing a court application. With the threat of litigation removed, all parties can focus on achieving a fair and reasonable settlement.

You can retain control

The couple control the pace, timetable and the issues to be discussed at each meeting. They also decide on the number, and type of experts that need to be involved.

A Collaborative process still incurs costs, as lawyers must be involved. However, even in complex cases, those costs are likely far less than would be incurred if lawyers were acting in a court process.

When the benefits are considered, the costs appear far more worthwhile.

With an eye on the future

After a successful Collaborative Law process, the parties are more likely able to effectively communicate in a civil and respectful manner. This means future difficulties regarding children can be avoided.

Further, the parties are likely to be happier, more content with the outcome. After a court process it is often the case that both parties are unhappy, with the decision sparking further bitterness and hostility.

Finally, where children are involved, is there a better example to set than resolving matters on a face to face basis via direct communication rather than going ten rounds in a court room?

For more information

If you want any more information about Collaborative Law, please contact Kathryn Ferris or Sharn Nijjar from our family team.

We can book you in for a free, 30 minute consultation, where we can discuss the process in more detail.

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This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.