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Mediation, Collaborative Law & Arbitration

Family Law

Meet Sarah Finnis

Experienced family lawyer and trained Collaborative Lawyer, Sarah Finnis explains why the Collaborative Law process is becoming increasingly popular with her clients as an alternative for achieving a settlement.

What is collaborative family law?

Collaborative law is a highly effective way of resolving family disputes without going to court. Meetings take place with you, your partner and specially trained collaborative lawyers. Each party appoints their own solicitor and at these ‘4 way meetings’ with your solicitors we work together to reach a solution that works best for your family.

The collaborative law process is a private process and the parties have a joint commitment to avoid contested court proceedings and to reach a solution by agreement. Clients sign an agreement in advance of the process that they will not take the matter to court.

At these meetings we can discuss financial matters and arrangements for the children.

What are the benefits?

Personal support for you and your family: You have the support of an experienced and trained collaborative lawyer who can guide you through the process every step of the way. In addition, other professional advisors can be introduced into the team to support you to advise on both financial and emotional issues such as accountants, independent financial advisors, expert valuers and family therapists.

Often a better long-term solution: You are more likely to stick to resolutions you have agreed to yourself and feel comfortable with a resolution that you have agreed rather than one imposed by a court. It can also really help improve communication after your separation.

A faster process: As the process is not driven by a timetable set by the court, it can be tailored to meet your own plans and priorities.

More cost-efficient: It can be significantly less expensive than financial cases that progress to a final court hearing.

Less stressful: The ‘4 way’ meetings with your partner and your lawyer helps ease the conflict, helping you both reach the best solution for all involved, avoiding the stress and potential long term impact of court proceedings.

No need to go to court: Once an agreement has been reached it is a simple process. Your solicitors will draw up a document which is then submitted to court for approval with no need for you to attend.

Is a collaborative law approach the right solution for me?

Every individual client’s case is personal to them and collaborative law may not be the right fit for you. However, if you do choose this option, and providing you have a good collaborative lawyer, it is often the best way to achieve a positive result both financially and emotionally.

What is mediation?

Mediation differs from collaborative law, in that both parties attend the meeting with the mediator usually without their solicitors. Mediators do not offer legal advice but act as a neutral third party and their role is to facilitate discussion and improve communication to help the parties reach their own agreements amicably. It is important to ensure you obtain legal advice during the process of mediation.

What is family arbitration?

Family arbitration is available in relation to financial and children matters. Matters are resolved by an arbitrator who sits very much like a judge to give a ruling. Arbitration can be a speedier, more flexible process than court and is a process which both parties have to agree to undertake.

What about going to court?

Going to court can still be the right option for some clients. When court proceedings are taken this does not bring necessarily halt negotiations. Negotiations will continue alongside the court process and the court expects each party to negotiate reasonably.

For further advice, please contact Sarah Finnis or another member of our Family Law team based in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.


Our Experts

Sarah Finnis

Head of Department
Family Law

Amanda Wilson

Partner
Family Law

Gemma Purt

Partner
Family Law

Curtis Wray

Associate Solicitor
Family Law

Megan Mahesan

Assistant Solicitor
Family Law

Related Pages

SARAH FINNIS PROFILE 2

What is Collaborative Family Law?