How do we reach a settlement?
How do we reach a settlement?
There are a variety of ways to reach an agreement, all of which apply to couples going through a divorce or separation, un-married couples and civil partners.
The options are:
- Kitchen table agreements
This is where you agree what should happen to your financial affairs directly, or with the help of a friend or family member. You should then consult a solicitor to make sure the arrangement is fair and to make it into a legally binding court order.
You and your spouse/partner are required to attend a series of meetings with an independent person called a mediator. Trained in family law, the mediator will take an objective view in helping you reach a constructive agreement. The number of sessions required will depend on how quickly you reach an agreement.
- Collaborative law
Much of this process takes place within four way meetings between you, your spouse and your respective solicitors – both of whom need to be qualified in collaborative law. Discussion will take place openly and frankly in these meetings, until a financial agreement is reached. Early on in the process, you will be required to sign a participation agreement to show you are committed to reaching an agreed financial settlement by this means.
- Negotiations through solicitors
This is perhaps the most common and traditional method in which to reach a settlement. You and your spouse each have your own family law solicitor, to whom you provide your instructions. Through correspondence and the voluntary provision of financial information a financial settlement is achieved.
- Court Proceedings
There are various reasons why divorce proceedings may progress to court, the most common being:
- your spouse or partner is refusing to provide details of their financial affairs
- your spouse or partner has put forward unrealistic proposals for settlement
- complex financial affairs.
Going to court should not be feared. The court is there is to put in place a timetable for the provision of financial information and enable other expert evidence to be obtained. The process is designed to support on-going negotiations, to achieve a final settlement. Very few cases proceed to a final hearing and most are resolved by consent before reaching these final stages.
Which option is right for you?
For couples with limited means and straightforward circumstances, you should be able to reach an agreement with little involvement from solicitors. For those with complex financial arrangements, you may benefit more from the structure of the court process.
The appropriate route for you will depend on your own circumstances. For example, although mediation is perfect for some couples, it is totally unsuitable for others. We will be able to advise you upon the best option during our initial meetings.
To arrange a discussion with a solicitor from our family law team, contact us on 0800 840 4929
0800 840 4929
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