It is an upsetting and uncertain time when you face difficulties in family life. However, sometimes there are alternatives to going to Court. We can help you to explore the alternatives that might be right for your situation.
After the breakdown of your relationship, collaborative law is a different approach that you may be able to take.
From the start, both you, your ex-partner and your advisers sign an agreement that you will make a full and frank disclosure as well as agreeing to work together to find a solution that suits everyone. In this agreement, lawyers from both sides will confirm that if a solution isn’t agreed, they won’t take the matter further by going to court. What’s really important in this approach is that it’s not us as lawyers but the individuals involved who decide what the issues are, how they’d like it to be resolved and over what period of time.
Although both parties have advice from lawyers beforehand, discussions happen face to face between both lawyers and clients together. Our role, and that of the other lawyer, is to help both people to move forwards and find a solution that suits everybody.
This approach won’t work for everyone and isn’t necessarily cheaper – but it does allow an agreement to be made and helps the relationship to be preserved, which is especially important if children are involved.
If you’re having family difficulties and have considered divorce and what this might mean financially for your children, you might be thinking about court proceedings to resolve things.
Before you can apply to court, you’ll have to go to a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).There are some exemptions but we can talk you through these.
What is a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
A MIAM is run by an independent mediator with yourself and the aim is to work out whether your issues can be sorted by mediation or whether it will have to involve going to court.
The mediator will explain your options, how mediation works and its benefits, as well as the likely costs – and if you’re likely to qualify for free mediation and legal aid.
The meeting can be between just you and the mediator but your ex-partner can also be there too.
What happens after the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)?
The mediator will let you know if they think your case is suitable for mediation and will let you know of your next steps.
If the mediator doesn’t think mediation is right for you, then you’ll be asked to sign an agreement saying that you attempted mediation – which will then be passed to the court as proof.