(Almost) Anything But Family Court

Twelve options for avoiding family court

Non-court optionDescription
1. Do it Yourself (DIY) or Kitchen Table AgreementsYou and your ex discuss how to sort out the finances and how to care for the children.
2. MediationA highly trained person provides you and your ex with assistance to sort things out.
3. Hybrid (or lawyer assisted/supported/integrative) mediationOne or both of you have your lawyers present in mediation.
4. Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM)A specially trained mediator talks and listens to your children.
5. Collaborative Law/Practice (Collab)Specially trained lawyers work together to help you both sort things out.
6. Round Table (‘collab lite’)Where lawyers and you meet ‘around the table’ or online together.
7. ArbitrationArbitrators are usually ex-judges, senior family law barristers or solicitors. They make the decision for you.
8. Arb Med (Arbitration-Mediation)A combination of arbitration and mediation.
9. OnlineApps and online companies which offer help with the divorce application. Some also offer a separate coaching service.
10. Solicitor Neutral (or one lawyer for one couple)One solicitor acts in a neutral and directive way to assist both of you.
11. Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)You both agree it would be helpful to ask (or instruct) a neutral person to tell you (in person /zoom or in writing) what might happen if the court was asked to make a decision on your case.
12. Private Financial Dispute Resolution  (FDR) JudgingThis is more formal than a straightforward early neutral evaluation and will usually mimic the court procedure.

Summary from ‘(Almost) Anything But Family Court‘, Jo O’Sullivan

£20, (for 2 print copies;  £10 digital version) Bath Publishing

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A groundbreaking work encouraging couples to avoid family court, this book outlines the people and processes that can resolve family law matters, whether in relation to children or finances, to avoid going to court. Every family law client should read it.

President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane: ‘To end up “fighting” a case in the Family Court is a sign of failure and, as this book describes, often a cause for true loss in terms of emotional and mental wellbeing, and money. Conversely, those who are able to have a “good” divorce or separation, where they can each feel that a fair outcome has been achieved without undue acrimony, will have gained something of long-term value for themselves and their children. This is a detailed roadmap towards that positive goal.’