Guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

While traditionally issues resulting from family breakdown would be resolved by going to court, there are now a variety of ways families can solve their problems without resorting to the courtroom. These are known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or non-court dispute resolution.

In family law, ADR approaches include mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.


What are the advantages of ADR?

The main advantages of using ADR approaches to resolving family issues are related to cost and time, along with minimising stress and hostility.

Solving your problems in the courtroom is not only expensive but can be a lengthy process. What’s more, going to court can feel intimidating for some people and increase stress levels at a time which is already emotionally challenging. These heightened emotions can also increase the hostility that couples feel towards each other.

Another advantage of using ADR approaches is confidentiality. While issues resolved in the courtroom are in the public domain, ADR procedures are confidential, affording you and your family total privacy.


Are ADR decisions legally binding?

Any agreements reached through mediation can be made into a legally binding document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. If your case involves financial matters, your agreement can be drafted into a Consent Order which makes the settlement legally enforceable.

Agreements reached through collaborative law, a process which involves the couple and their respective solicitors sitting down together to reach a settlement, can be made into legally binding documents by each solicitor.

Arbitration is final and legally binding. Decisions made by an appointed arbitrator are legally enforceable in the same way as a court judgement.


If you would like to discuss ways to resolve your family breakdown without going to court, please contact us

We offer an initial no obligation one-hour appointment for just £50 (Incl. VAT), so you can talk through the options specific to your personal circumstances with a qualified lawyer.

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