Family Law – Family Dispute Resolution

Family Law – Family Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is the term used to describe non-court based ways of resolving disagreements or negotiating agreements.  These are alternatives to conventional court action.

ADR can be used by married, unmarried, same sex couples or in a wider family dispute.

ADR options include:-


  • A single neutral person who may be a Lawyer Mediator, or simply a Mediator, acts as a Mediator for a couple.
  • The Mediator assists in providing legal information for the couple to assist in reaching agreement, but does not offer legal advice.
  • It is popularly used when there are disagreements regarding children.
  • The advantages are that it is confidential, it is voluntary and it is non-binding.
  • If you can sit in the same room as your partner and a mutual third party to discuss plans which would be workable for you, your partner and children, then this method may be right for you.
  • Comprehensive Accredited Lawyer Mediation –

Collaborative Practice

  • This originated in the United States from a group of solicitors who were disenchanted with the court process. It works well if solicitors work together on a regular basis.
  • It is a more holistic approach with the aim of guiding the client to a resolution.
  • Negotiations take place in meetings and not in correspondence.  It involves settlement meetings with clients and solicitors.  Parties cannot go to court or threaten to go to court if the process breaks down.  If parties decide to go to court then they have to seek alternative legal advice.
  • If you can sit in the same room as your partner and consider a plan with solicitors and advisers, then this may work for you in particular if you are prepared to have a respectful relationship.


  • This is right for you if you can provide the necessary information to a third party who is a specialist in Family Law and who can explore the way forward for you and your partner.  You must be prepared to be bound by their decision.
  • Arbitration has the advantages of speed, confidentiality, cost, flexibility and the choice of arbitrator.
  • Family Law Arbitration Group –

In England and Wales the law has recently provided that parties in most family law cases must attend a Mediation and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before initiating family law proceedings relating to children or seeking financial remedies.  It is anticipated that similar rules may eventually be introduced in Scotland.

For more information or advice please call 01309 672216 or email