Mediation & Alternatives to Litigation

26 October 2012

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher – is a ‘private’ divorce possible?

Various press reports this week, both in England and in the US, suggest that Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher have been unable to finalise their divorce due to their inability to reach a financial settlement and the prospect of an “ugly” court battle has been raised. This blog explores the alternative routes to highly public divorces in the UK.

2 October 2012

The first Family Dispute Resolution Week – a battle for ‘hearts and minds’

Last week Resolution hosted their “Family Dispute Resolution Week”, which was designed to promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR) within family disputes.  The aim was to increase awareness of the availability of mediation, collaborative law and arbitration (limited to finances) as options for resolving family law disputes.

3 November 2011

Norgrave Reforms published today

The Government’s review of family justice, chaired by David Norgrave, is published today. The findings are far-reaching and cover the breadth of the family law/justice services. There is a predictable emphasis on the role and benefits of mediation as a way of resolving disputes following the breakdown of family relations. A new online ‘divorce information hub’ is proposed to enable couples to access information and court processes quickly and directly. In children cases, references to ‘contact’ and ‘residence’, which are seen as polarising, are to be replaced by ‘parenting agreements’ designed to encourage parents to agree and record arrangements for their children without judicial interference. Controversially, the proposals do not include the provision of ‘equal rights’ for parents (something campaigners for father’s rights will doubtless challenge) and similarly, an automatic right for grandparents to have contact with their grandchildren does not feature. In addition the report recommends strict court deadlines for dealing with cases involving children in care so as to deal with the current “shocking delays” in the family courts. Given the pressure that this will undoubtedly place on an already over-burdened court system it is unsurprising that the thrust of the reforms is to steer divorcing couples and disputing parents away from the courts by offering them alternative ways to resolve conflict.

23 February 2011

Mediation changes afoot…

Following our blog on 14 October, the Justice Minister has announced new rules (effective from 6 April) making mediation compulsory before most family law proceedings can be issued at Court. A new practice direction requires couples to have at least one mediation awareness session, to find out what the mediation process involves and whether they want to sign up to it. The Justice Minister is hoping that more cases will be resolved through mediation, avoiding the stress and cost of contested Court proceedings, saying “Mediation is proven to be a quicker, cheaper and more amicable alternative, particularly where children are concerned”.

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