Alternatives to Court

Arbitration

What is arbitration and how does it work?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that offers a more private and streamlined approach to resolving family law disputes outside of court.

In arbitration, the parties agree to have a neutral third party (the arbitrator) make a binding decision on the dispute. The arbitrator hears evidence and arguments from both sides, and then issues an award. The parties agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision, which is usually final and can be enforced by a court. The couple can choose their arbitrator, and the arbitration process can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the couple.

Arbitration offers several advantages over traditional litigation, including increased privacy and confidentiality, greater flexibility and control over the process, and a quicker and more efficient resolution. It can be particularly beneficial in complex family law matters involving high-value assets, business interests, or sensitive issues.

How We Can Help

We recognise that family disputes can be emotionally challenging and daunting, and that is why our family law arbitration service places a strong emphasis on empathy and understanding. Our arbitration lawyers work closely with our clients to understand their unique circumstances, allowing us to provide personalised guidance and support to help them make informed decisions that serve their best interests and well-being of their families.

Whether you are seeking a fair resolution for your divorce, establishing child custody arrangements, or navigating complex financial matters, we are here to help.

Contact our arbitration lawyers to schedule a consultation.

Alternatives to Court Services

Whether you are facing a divorce, financial issues, or a child custody dispute, we are here to help you reach a resolution-focused outcome. If alternative routes to court are not successful, we are well prepared to provide you with the necessary legal advice to help you navigate the court system and find a workable solution that has your family’s best interests at heart. 

Start a conversation today

Alternatives to Court

Collaborative Law

What is collaborative law and how does it work?

In collaborative law, each party has a lawyer who is trained specifically in collaborative law. The parties and their lawyers work together to find a solution to the dispute. Collaborative law is a voluntary and confidential process that emphasises cooperation and mutual respect.

Initially, both parties and their lawyers sign an agreement to work together to find a resolution without going to court. The agreement outlines the terms of the process, including the commitment to open communication, the exchange of information, and the use of neutral experts to help resolve any issues.

Throughout the collaborative process, the parties and their lawyers work together to identify and prioritise their goals, discuss their concerns, and explore various options for resolving their disputes. This approach allows for a creative and flexible strategy to problem-solving, enabling the parties to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs.

If an agreement is reached, the lawyers will work together to draft a settlement agreement that reflects the terms of the agreement. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through the collaborative process, they have the option of seeking alternative methods to resolve their dispute, such as mediation or arbitration, or resolution together. In some cases, if an agreement cannot be reached through these methods, the parties may choose to seek the assistance of new lawyers and proceed to court.

Are the agreements reached in Collaborative Law legally binding?

While it is often said that agreements reached in Collaborative Law are legally binding, the reality is a bit more nuanced. These agreements become binding to a certain extent once they are signed. However, the full legal binding only occurs when the agreement is ratified by a court order. If either party decides to apply to the court for an order that deviates from the terms agreed upon in the Collaborative Law process, the other party can respond with a “Notice to Show Cause”, prompting the court to assess whether the person seeking a different order should be held to their agreement. It is important to note that if there have been significant and unforeseen changes in circumstances since the Collaborative agreement, the court may still make a different order. Therefore, it is always necessary to submit any agreement to the court in the form of a court order, when possible, during the divorce or termination of a civil partnership.

We are committed to ensuring that you have a clear understanding of what to expect at every stage of your case and will advise you on anything that you are unsure of with clarity and compassion. Our goal is to empower you to make informed, confident decisions.

How We Can Help

We understand that family disputes can be emotional and overwhelming, which is why we prioritise empathy and compassion in our approach. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique situations and help them make informed decisions that are in their best interests and the best interests of their families.

Our team of collaborative lawyers has extensive experience in handling a variety of family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation and support throughout the entire collaborative process.

Contact the team to schedule a consultation.

Alternatives to Court Services

Whether you are facing a divorce, financial issues, or a child custody dispute, we are here to help you reach a resolution-focused outcome. If alternative routes to court are not successful, we are well prepared to provide you with the necessary legal advice to help you navigate the court system and find a workable solution that has your family’s best interests at heart. 

Start a conversation today

Alternatives to Court

Family Mediation

At Walker Family Law we firmly believe in exploring alternatives to court for our valued clients. Through commitments to methods such as family mediation, we offer you cost-effective, efficient, and amicable approaches to resolving family law matters. Our experienced team provides comprehensive guidance on alternative dispute resolution methods specifically tailored to your unique circumstances. With our support, our goal is to assist you in achieving a mutually satisfactory outcome outside of the courtroom.

What is family mediation and how does it work?

Family mediation is a process of assisted negotiation, where an independent mediator helps couples resolve issues. It is a voluntary, confidential process that involves a neutral, third-party mediator who helps families resolve disputes and reach agreements outside of court. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the family, but rather assists them in finding a common ground and negotiating a mutually acceptable outcome.

If you are facing a family dispute, our experienced family mediator, Ian Walker, can help you reach an agreement in an amicable and respectful manner. We specialise in mediation for family matters including divorce, financial cases, and complex children disputes.

Mediation is a flexible process that we adapt to best serve our clients’ needs. We offer a range of mediation services including:

  • Child Inclusive Mediation: our goal is to ensure that the voices of older children are heard and considered during the mediation process.
  • Integrated Mediation: we collaborate with other professionals to help develop various options and solutions.
  • Solicitor Inclusive Mediation: this involves providing support and guidance to clients with legal representation throughout the mediation process.
  • Online Mediation: we conduct the entire mediation process remotely using Microsoft Teams, allowing clients to participate from the comfort of a location of their choice.
  • Shuttle Mediation: even if parties in dispute are not physically present in the same room during the mediation meeting, the mediator will facilitate communication and help them reach an agreement.

We can also work with arbitrators to offer Med-Arb, where the arbitrator will determine any matters which cannot be resolved in the mediation.

How We Can Help

As Solicitors who offer neutral mediation, we believe that we are best placed to protect the integrity of the mediation process, having a deep understanding of the importance of confidentiality and neutrality. We are also acutely aware of both adult and child safeguarding and will tailor and facilitate the process to ensure that meetings are focused and that both clients can confidently and safely express their views. We help couples to concentrate on the issues, listen to each other, and make informed decisions.

A Mediator can provide information to assist clients on a neutral basis. When the mediator is also a solicitor, the couple can have confidence that they are receiving good and informed information that will help them to find a mutually acceptable solution.

When we represent clients as solicitors and determine that they would benefit from alternative mediation services, we will refer them exclusively to mediators with a strong legal background. This ensures that our clients receive the specialist knowledge they need during the mediation process.

Ian Walker is a very experienced mediator, having trained in 1996 and is accredited by the Family Mediation Council and the Law Society. He is also a Child Law Arbitrator with the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. Ian’s experience also includes having served as a Trustee of the Family Mediators Association.

In financial cases, to make agreements binding there still needs to be a Court Order approved by a Judge. After a financial family mediation has concluded, our mediators can then prepare the financial order if instructed by both clients as a solicitor to act on a neutral basis.

Contact the team to schedule a consultation. Couples who are separating amicably might also wish to consider Resolution Together as an alternative to mediation.

Alternatives to Court Services

Whether you are facing a divorce, financial issues, or a child custody dispute, we are here to help you reach a resolution-focused outcome. If alternative routes to court are not successful, we are well prepared to provide you with the necessary legal advice to help you navigate the court system and find a workable solution that has your family’s best interests at heart. 

Start a conversation today

Domestic Abuse

Occupation Order

Who should occupy the home image

Occupation Order

An occupation order is another type of injunctive Order that can be issued by the Courts in England and Wales in cases where there is domestic abuse or violence.

An occupation order regulates who can live in a certain property, or part of a property, and can be granted to either party involved in the dispute. It can be used to remove the person named in the Order (the Respondent) from the home, or it can be used to allow the person seeking the Order (the Applicant) to stay in the home and exclude the respondent. The Order can also include provisions such as preventing the respondent from entering the property or a specific area around it and can regulate the payment of rent or mortgage instalments and other related expenses.

Occupation Orders can only be made ‘without notice’ against a Respondent in exceptional circumstances. Such Orders are usually made for fixed periods of time such as six or twelve months but can last until the occurrence of a specified event or until further order.

When deciding whether to make an Occupation Order, the Court will consider various factors, including the financial resources and housing needs of each party and any relevant children.  The Court will also consider the conduct of the parties and the likely effect any Order (whether granted or refused) would have on the health, safety and well-being of the parties and children.

Should a Respondent breach a provision of an Occupation Order which has a penal notice attached to it, this can result in criminal charges. The Order can otherwise be enforced through civil proceedings.

The Court has the power to vary or discharge an Occupation Order if there is a change in circumstances, or if the Order is no longer necessary.

Contact the team to schedule a consultation.

Domestic Abuse Services

Start a conversation today

Domestic Abuse

Non-Molestation Order

Court

Non-Molestation Order

A Non-Molestation order is a type of injunctive order issued by the Courts of England and Wales to protect someone who has experienced domestic abuse.

The Non-Molestation Order prohibits the person named in the Order (the ‘Respondent’) from harassing, intimidating, threatening, or using violence against the person who sought the order (the Applicant), or any children involved. It may also include provisions such as preventing the Respondent from contacting the Applicant, coming within a certain distance of their home or workplace, or a child’s school/nursery. Such Orders also prohibit the Respondent from instructing or encouraging any third party to do any of the things they are prohibited from doing.

A Non-Molestation Order is intended to provide a level of protection to the Applicant (and any persons named within the Order) and in exceptional circumstances, can be issued ‘without notice’ against the Respondent if the Court is satisfied that it is ‘just and convenient’ to make such an Order.  

When considering whether to make an Order ‘without notice’ the Court needs to consider all of the circumstances including any risk of significant harm to the Applicant or relevant child if the Order were not made immediately; whether the Applicant would otherwise be deterred or prevented from pursuing the application and/or where there is reason to believe that the Respondent is aware of the proceedings, but is deliberately evading service and delaying the application would be prejudicial.

A ‘without notice’ Non-Molestation Order is usually made on a temporary basis and is subject to review at a later hearing when both parties can attend and present their cases to the Court. Wherever possible, return date hearings should take place within 14 days of the initial hearing.

Non-Molestation Orders can be made for a fixed period, such as six months or a year, or until the Court decides otherwise.

If, once served, the Respondent breaches the Order, they may be arrested and charged with a criminal offence. The Order can also be enforced through civil proceedings, which could result in a fine or term of imprisonment.

If you need to obtain a Non-Molestation Order, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced family law solicitor who can guide you through the legal process and make sure your rights are protected. Contact the team to schedule a consultation

Domestic Abuse Services

Start a conversation today

Divorce and separation

Family law is all we do, so we understand that divorce and separation can be an emotional and complicated time. Walker Family Law is here to help you navigate the divorce or separation process with compassion, understanding, and a commitment to reaching the right outcome for you and your family.

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

Divorce and separation services

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

We go further to support every step of the way

Walker Family
Law Service Pledge

The standards we meet to ensure you receive the highest quality care.

Divorce
Support Club

A confidential and supportive space for those going through a divorce or separation.

The
Walker Way

Our mission to set standards of excellence in our practice of family law.

Divorce and separation

Postnuptial & Prenuptial Agreement Solicitors

A person signing a prenuptial agreement

Walker Family Law are specialist postnuptial and prenuptial agreement solicitors, qualified to provide you with practical legal advice.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement made by a couple before they get married or enter into a civil partnership. It outlines how their assets and properties will be divided in the event of a divorce or separation.

A postnuptial agreement is another legal agreement, but it is made by a couple after they are married or have entered into a civil partnership.

Protecting your future

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement protects the rights of individuals in a marriage or a civil partnership by specifying the division of assets, financial responsibilities, and other important matters in the event of a divorce or a dissolution. It provides a legally binding framework that outlines how property, debts, and other assets will be divided, and can help prevent lengthy and contentious court battles. Our team of postnuptial and prenuptial agreement solicitors are experts in the preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and can guide you through the process.

By working with us, you can be rest assured that you will receive expert, compassionate legal support every step of the way. We will listen to your needs and concerns and explain how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you protect your assets and plan for the future.

Once you have decided to proceed with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, we will work with you to draft a document that meets your needs and concerns. This may involve negotiating with your partner and their legal representative to ensure that the agreement is fair and legally binding.

Contact our team today to schedule a consultation.

Divorce and separation services

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

Start a conversation today

Divorce and separation

Financial Settlement Solicitors

Financial Planning Through Divorce

Financial Settlements

Walker Family Law are specialist financial settlement solicitors, qualified to provide you with compassionate and practical legal advice.

Our focus is always on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. With extensive experience in negotiation and mediation, our financial settlement solicitors explore all options to resolve your financial disputes.

We can help you draft and negotiate financial agreements that address all aspects of your financial situation. From property division and maintenance payments to pensions and debts and liabilities, we understand that each situation is unique, and we will work with you to find practical and workable solutions that meet your specific needs.

If you have children, we understand that their financial needs are of utmost importance. Our solicitors can help you negotiate a child arrangements agreement with your ex-partner that is fair and objective. We can also provide you with advice on child support payments and other financial considerations related to your children.

If negotiation and mediation are not possible, we will work with you to prepare for legal action to ensure your interests are protected in court. We have a proven track record of successfully representing our clients in court and achieving the best possible outcomes, helping you move forward with confidence and security.

Contact our team of financial settlement solicitors to schedule a consultation.

Divorce and separation services

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

Start a conversation today

Divorce and separation

Divorce Solicitors

Divorce Papers

Walker Family Law are specialist divorce solicitors, qualified to guide you through the divorce process with compassionate and practical legal advice.


Divorce is a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. It can be overwhelming to navigate the legal process, manage your emotions, and make important decisions about your future. As leading family law experts in the Southwest, our team are uniquely equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to provide you with the best solutions. Our dedicated divorce solicitors will be by your side every step of the way to ensure your rights are protected and to help you achieve the right outcome for your situation.

Contact our team today to schedule a consultation.

What happens during the divorce process?

When it comes to filing for divorce, you have the option of a sole application or a joint application, and our expert team is adept at handling both.

A joint application enables a couple to apply for a divorce together, providing an opportunity for both parties to mutually initiate the process. This application method was introduced as part of the landmark ‘no-fault divorce’ law that became effective on 6th April 2022 in England and Wales. It acknowledges that the decision to start divorce proceedings, though difficult, can be made jointly, facilitating a more amicable dissolution of the marriage.

A sole application is made by one applicant and is served to the other party, who can then submit a response. The person initiating the process is referred to as the applicant or sole applicant, while their spouse or civil partner is referred to as the respondent.

If you have any questions as the respondent, we are here to assist you.

Navigating divorce with ease

Our goal is to make the divorce process as smooth and as stress-free as possible for you. We prioritise listening to your concerns and understanding your goals, recognising that each situation is unique. Whether it is property division, child arrangements, or financial settlements, we will handle all the legal aspects of your divorce so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family.

Our resolution-focused approach prioritises finding common ground and reaching a fair settlement outside of court wherever possible. We firmly believe that resolving matters outside of court can save time, money, and emotional stress.

When an out-of-court resolution is not feasible, we are expertly equipped to represent you in court to achieve the right result, our lawyers are skilled advocates and negotiators.

As specialist divorce solicitors, Walker Family Law also offers a free, monthly Divorce Support Club. The aim is to provide you with emotional support that goes beyond our legal expertise. Through our partnership with specialist Divorce and Separation Coach Claire Macklin, we offer a range of valuable resources including high-quality webinars, informative newsletters, and practical tools that are designed to support you through your divorce.

Contact our team today to schedule a consultation.

Divorce and separation services

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

Start a conversation today

Divorce and separation

Civil Partnership Solicitors

Image to represent civil partnership counselling

Civil Partnerships

Walker Family Law are specialist civil partnership solicitors, qualified to provide you with compassionate and practical legal advice.

Civil partnerships are legally recognised relationships between two individuals that provide them with similar rights and responsibilities as marriage. They are available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples who choose not to or cannot enter into a marriage.

The end of a civil partnership can be a difficult and emotional time, including for children and the wider family. We recognise the unique challenges that occur during the breakdown of a civil partnership, and we are here to help guide you.

As civil partnership solicitors, we are experts in the breakdown of civil partnerships and equipped to provide you with compassionate and practical legal advice to individuals and families going through a separation or the dissolution of a civil partnership. We will use our depth of knowledge to find the best possible solution for you, whether that involves mediation, collaborative law, resolution together, or traditional litigation.

We take a personalised and resolution-focused approach to each case, listening to your needs, concerns, and goals. Understanding you and your concerns is our primary focus, as that will enable us to untangle the complex legal issues that can accompany a separation, such as property division, financial matters, and child arrangements.

We will endeavour to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you, while ensuring your rights and interests are protected. We will handle all the legal aspects of your case so that you can focus on taking care of you and your family. if you are in need of civil partnership Solicitors, contact our team today to arrange a consultation.

Divorce and separation services

Whether you are divorcing, separating, or ending a civil partnership, our expert team of family lawyers will help you move forward with confidence.

Start a conversation today