ADR: what is it, and how might it help you resolve your family dispute?

Protecting the interests of families is at the heart of what we do, and for our clients who are parents, we encourage them to put the children at the very centre of their decision making. That is why there are times when our family law experts may advise that going to court is not the best way to resolve a dispute.

We offer a range of approaches to help you resolve successfully the issues between you and your partner. Non-court dispute resolution (alternative dispute resolution or ADR) is something that we will discuss during our first meeting when we review your situation; together we will determine the best option for you and your family. Child and family law disputes can be extremely costly; reaching an agreement outside of court has a much higher success rate and can help to preserve good relations. And reaching agreements out of court generally takes considerably less time and money than a contentious, litigious approach.

This month our family law specialists will guide you through all you need to know about ADR: partner Caroline Bilous, a trained collaborative lawyer, a member of Resolution and an acknowledged expert in being able to assist her clients resolve their family disputes using alternative means of dispute resolution through the collaborative process, here explains arbitration.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that has been available for family disputes in England and Wales since March 2012.

The process involves the parties entering into an agreement under which they choose an Arbitrator to make a decision on the division of their assets. The Arbitrator’s decision is then binding on both parties.

What are the benefits of Arbitration?

There are a number of benefits to arbitration over the Court process including:

  • you are in control of the process. You can select your preferred Arbitrator from a list of specially trained experts who are all registered on the website. And unlike the Court process, you can choose the Arbitrator who is best suited to your own set of circumstances. Here at McAlister Family Law we have our own in-house Arbitrator.
  •  The process can be much quicker: this means you could expedite the process and decide on what issues need to be resolved. The process can also be designed by both parties, and if there is any disagreement on the timetable then you could always consult the Arbitrator who can make a decision. For instance, if you wish to agree the forms of disclosure between you then you can schedule the resolution of issues very quickly and at the convenience of the Arbitrator, instead of waiting your turn in the Court list. This can result in a final decision, in the absence of an agreement, being made much more quickly.
  • Finally, it can be more cost-effective as you and your spouse can determine the way in which the Arbitrator deals with your case. You can agree to bypass some of the usual stages in the Court process (although it’s important to note that you do have to pay the costs of the Arbitrator).

And arbitration may well be a welcome alternative for those people facing financial challenges in the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Also, non-urgent financial disputes are being given the lowest priority when it comes to the allocation of Court hearings, so there are no guarantees how long a case might take.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, please get in touch today. We are here to help.

  • Caroline Bilous