Traditionally when couples separate they take independent legal advice from a Solicitor and working through their Solicitors they try to reach agreement.

When agreement cannot be reached the issues are left to be decided by the family Court which can lead to increased costs, conflict, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved.

It is not commonly known that there are alternatives to Court and these alternatives have a proven track record in assisting Parties in resolving their issues arising from separation.

Our family law team will provide you with comprehensive advice regarding your options at an initial meeting, which include:-


Mediation involves meeting with an independent third party who is trained to help resolve issues faced by separating couples. Mediators will not take sides and cannot give you legal advice. Our family law team would be able to provide you with legal advice alongside the mediation process. Once an agreement is reached the terms of agreement need to be embodied into a “Consent Order” which, once lodged at Court, is legally binding.

Since April 2011 there has been a requirement that anybody who wants to go to Court has to attend an information and assessment meeting with a qualified mediator (MIAM). There is no requirement that you have to engage in mediation. In some circumstances mediation may not be suitable i.e. where there is domestic violence or when one party is more dominant than the other.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law offers a refreshing alternative to Court. In the Collaborative process each person has their own specially trained Collaborative Lawyer and it is agreed in writing at the start of the process that the couple and their Lawyers will work together in a series of face to face meetings to resolve all the issues, without involving the Court. Our Alison Winterbottom is a trained Collaborative Lawyer and will be able to provide full details in respect of this process in order that you can assess whether the process is right for you. If an agreement is reached through the process then the terms of the agreement will need to be embodied into a legal binding “Consent Order”.

For more information and to discuss your options please contact our family law Solicitors on 01616245614.