When a marriage breaks down, it’s normal to be at a loss over what to do. And unless you’ve been through it before, you may be unsure about the correct process to follow.
For many couples getting divorced, their first thoughts turn to legal representation and they hurry to find a family law firm to represent them.
It’s important to know that going to court is not the only option you have if you want to end your marriage. In fact, most family lawyers will consider going to court as the last resort, and only when you and your partner really cannot agree over your finances or the arrangements for your children.
Going to court is expensive and time-consuming. Going to court means also that you are putting your affairs in someone else’s hands. The judge deciding your case will not know you, but he or she will be called on to make a decision about your future life, your finances and your interaction with your children. You may not like the decision the judge reaches, but – after taking your divorce to court – you will have to abide by whatever that decision is.
There are alternatives to this route that are well worth exploring, the most common being divorce mediation and collaborative law.
Both approaches aim to help you and your partner reach an agreement about your finances, living arrangements and children without involving the courts.
Where mediation and collaborative law differ is in the process they follow to help you reach that agreement.
In divorce mediation, you and your partner meet with a mediator to discuss your divorce. The mediator does not side with you or your partner. Their task is to offer a neutral, third-party opinion and guide you through any disputes that arise between you. Over a number of sessions, the mediator will help you reach an amicable settlement that can form the basis for your divorce.
The collaborative law approach also aims to help you and your partner reach an agreement, and it also centres on face to face discussions. But here, both you and your partner are accompanied by your own legal adviser and both ‘teams’ aim to resolve disputes through negotiation.
As you can see, there are other options besides letting the courts decide your future. As family lawyers and trained mediators, Cotswold Mediation is here to help you make the best possible choices for your family.
Call us today on 07711 527968 to find out how we can help you.