What can you do if an ex-partner refuses to co-operate?

Divorce and separation can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. This is intensified if one partner refuses to cooperate, making the process more challenging and complicated. An ex-partner may refuse to provide the financial information to ensure a divorce is fair and reasonable or may refuse to cooperate on arrangements for your children.

While the introduction of No Fault Divorce means that one half of a couple can now get a divorce without it being contested, when it comes to financial settlements and arrangements for children resolving any issues can be more problematic.

Tisshaws always strive to make the legal process of divorce and separation as amicable as possible. We do this by offering alternative ways to resolve issues around children and finances resulting from family breakdown. These include encouraging direct discussions, mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration, as outlined below.

Direct Discussions

  • A couple can enter discussions to resolve issues without involving solicitors or the court. This will incur no legal costs and they can decide the pace of the discussions.
  • However, this involves a degree of cooperation and compromise which may not be possible for some.


  • Mediation starts with an introductory meeting to explain how the mediation process works and how it might help you.
  • Mediation involves an impartial mediator helping both parties to reach an agreement on issues involving finances and children. Couples normally attend meetings together, but in some cases, meetings can be arranged so that the couple avoid encountering each other.
  • In the case of resolving financial matters, both parties will need to provide a full financial disclosure and the mediator can signpost where they can seek further assistance, such as financial planners, pension experts, counsellors, and solicitors.
  • Because of the impartiality of the mediator, the process is much more open and transparent, which can help couples resolve the issues in dispute more amicably.

Collaborative Law

  • This involves a couple and their respective lawyers, who have been trained to work collaboratively, having a series of meetings together to discuss the issues in dispute. Experts or therapists can be brought into these meetings, provided that both parties agree.
  • As with mediation, a couple can set their own agenda and are in control of the pace of the negotiations.
  • The process is underpinned by an agreement between the couple and their respective solicitors not to issue court proceedings, which can encourage both parties to engage with each other more positively.


  • Arbitration can be used as to resolve overall matters or isolated issues, such as how pensions should be shared between a couple or where children should spend their holidays.
  • Arbitration hearings are heard before an Arbitrator, usually a trained barrister or solicitor, who acts as a judge.
  • A couple can choose their own Arbitrator and are in control of when and where their hearings take place.
  • The Arbitrator’s ruling is legally binding.

Court Proceedings

  • If all else fails and an ex-partner remains uncooperative, court proceedings can be instigated.
  • Do be aware that taking your issues to court is costly, stressful, and owing to the backlog of court cases waiting to be heard, an extremely lengthy process.
  • Given this, court proceedings can increase the hostility between separating couples and make it more difficult for you both to move on.

At Tisshaws, both Richard and Hana are trained mediators, while Gilva, Camilla, Richard and Verity are trained collaborative lawyers.


If you are thinking about divorce and separation, we offer an initial no obligation one-hour appointment for just £50 (incl. VAT), so you can discover the options and issues pertaining to your specific circumstances. To book a consultation please call us on 01444 472700, email us on info@tisshawssolicitors.co.uk or complete the form below.


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