Consideration for an Out of Court Divorce Settlement
Divorce  |  Marriage  |  Mediation

Good Divorce Week 2022: Out of Court Divorce Settlement

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Walker Family Law
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Next week, 28 November to 2 December, is ‘Good Divorce Week 2022’. As specialist divorce lawyers, we’re delving into what Good Divorce Week is all about and why an out of court divorce settlement might be the right route for many married couples looking to separate.

What is a Good Divorce?

Consideration for an Out of Court Divorce Settlement

Good Divorce Week is an annual awareness campaign run by Resolution, the community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve

issues in a constructive way. All of our lawyers are members of Resolution and subscribe to the Resolution Code of Practice.

The term ‘Good Divorce’ may seem rather contradictory. After all, how can the breakdown of a marriage possibly be considered a good thing?

Well, the campaign isn’t really to do with the breakdown of the marriage. Rather, it is to do with how the parties go about dissolving the marriage, and dealing with any issues that arise, in particular regarding arrangements for children and finances.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage divorcing couples to resolve those issues in a way that reduces conflict, thereby in turn reducing the costs involved (both physical and psychological) for all concerned especially, of course, the children.

In short, divorce doesn’t have to be a lengthy, expensive and stressful process.

And each year the campaign has a particular focus, related to the aim of the campaign. This year the focus is to highlight the crisis in the family courts and raise awareness of all the different ways families can resolve their disputes away from Court – where it is safe and appropriate to do so – and how Resolution members guide families through that process.

Why Consider an Out of Court Divorce Settlement?

For some time now the family courts have been in crisis, in terms of the huge caseload they are having to deal with, which in turn means cases are taking much longer than they should.

Only this month HM Courts & Tribunals Service published shocking figures regarding the backlog of cases in the family court, which now tops 110,000 cases.

The figures showed that the number of open private law cases (i.e. family cases not involving social services) stood at 85,706 in August, and that the average time for these cases to be dealt with was 43 weeks.

And for public law cases (i.e. children cases involving social services) the delays are even worse. In August 24,719 such cases were outstanding, and the average time for them to be completed was 45 weeks (it should be remembered that public law cases are supposed to take no longer than 26 weeks).

Clearly, as Resolution are suggesting, these figures provide even more reason for divorcing couples to resolve their disputes out of court. But how exactly is that done?

Ian Walker Director/Solicitor/Mediator /Arbitrator Law Society Children Panel and Mediation Accredited
Ian Walker Director/Solicitor/Mediator /Arbitrator Law Society Children Panel and Mediation Accredited

How to Settle Divorce Out of Court

The simplest way to resolve a family dispute out of court is of course to settle it by agreement with the other party.

But sadly, that is not always possible, even when a constructive, non-confrontational, approach is adopted.

So if you can’t agree matters direct with your (former) spouse, what other out-of-court options do you have?

Well quite a few, actually.

You could, for example, try Family Mediation, where both parties agree to refer their dispute to a trained mediator, who will assist them to discuss and resolve the issues that they wish to resolve. We offer a Family Mediation service, or can advise you throughout the process if your matter is referred to a mediator elsewhere.

Another option is Collaborative Family Law, which is a sort of cross between Mediation and traditional Solicitor/Solicitor meetings. Again, we offer a Collaborative Family Law service, helping and advising you throughout the process.

A further option is Arbitration. Arbitration is a process whereby the parties enter into an agreement under which they appoint a suitably qualified person (an “arbitrator”) to adjudicate a dispute and make an award, which is legally binding. Once again, we offer an Arbitration service for children disputes, or can advise and assist you through the process if your matter is referred to an arbitrator elsewhere.

Furthermore, for anyone going through separation or divorce, our Divorce Support Club is a free service aimed at helping people who may be finding the process overwhelming. Within the Divorce Support Club, you’ll find information across a wealth of topics to help guide you through your own situation.