Keep it out of Court

If you believe that you need to go to court to be divorced, you are in good company. A recent survey by Resolution, the family law group, discovered that around half of those surveyed (a group of 4,000 British adults) would use the court if they were to get divorced.

For all the negative press, this is progress. Half the adult population are aware that you don’t have to go to court and that there are alternative ways of resolving family disputes. That’s half the population who may be able to resolve their disputes amicably, quickly and in a dignified fashion. Hopefully the other 50% won’t have a dispute to resolve.

The courts are extremely short of time and simply cannot take into account the intricacies of family life. It is not the forum to use if you wish to end a relationship and part feeling good about yourself. It is also extremely expensive.

Resolution’s campaign, keep it out of court, is well timed. On Friday 22 November 2013 judgement was released on Young v Young.  Mr Justice Moore opened his judgement with a furious criticism of the level of fees spent – £6.4m by the wife. While those of us at the coal face of family law don’t tend to see fees at this level, we do come across cases where too much family money is committed to a process which is upsetting everyone involved.

We’d like to see more people talking about their options before taking action. If you read this, please raise the possibility of mediation, collaborative law or arbitration with your divorce professionals and seek to get fully educated before taking action.

Resolution’s findings are as follows:

- 51% say they would consider trying a non-court-based solution instead of going court if they were to divorce in the future.

- 23% of British adults believe that non-court based methods of divorce and separation “make the terms of the separation clear to both parties”.

- 24%think that non-court based methods of divorce “protect the rights of both parties”.

- 52% of British adults say they think that non-court based methods of divorce and separation “are better for the wellbeing of couples”.

- 50% of British adults say that “non-court based methods of divorce and separation are better for the wellbeing of children”.