Increasing numbers of separating couples are, particularly where Legal Aid is unavailable, finding themselves in the difficult position of dealing with legal matters themselves.
Sometimes, this leads to one or both of them becoming a Litigant in Person, meaning that they may represent themselves at Court, with all the stress, uncertainty and complexity that involves.
Although promptly taking advice from a specialist Family Lawyer remains the best option, there are alternatives for separating couples who seek to resolve their differences without the need for an application to Court.
Mediation is a tried and tested method for couples to discuss their plans for the future with the help of a neutral, trained Mediator.
Mediators can level out power imbalances between separating couples and, where finances are concerned, guide them through a process of financial disclosure to help them better understand the assets available for negotiation.
Collaborative Law involves both parties, and their collaboratively-trained lawyers, signing up to an Agreement which can lead them to discuss matters openly and constructively in a round-table format.
Collaborative Law can be a powerful alternative to Mediation since the couple will have their lawyers with them in round-table meetings and information can be provided to keep negotiations on track in a constructive manner.
A more recent addition to the Family Law options available to separating couples is Arbitration, in which a separating couple can instruct an impartial Arbitrator, effectively to judge their case then make an award to settle matters.
Separating couples are faced with the challenge of dealing with money and sometimes children at a time when they may need guidance and support to find the best way forward. Mediation, Collaborative Law and Arbitration are three options available to help under these circumstances and can be discussed with your family lawyer.