Sites, organisations and firms of solicitors committed to resolving family law issues without going to court
Family mediation and collaborative law
Family Mediation explained is an article from Tara Deegan of Slater & Gordon.
Collaborative law is fairly new to the UK and is fundamentally changing the way people think about family law. In short it is a new way to resolve divorce and family disputes – collaborative lawyers and their clients agree in writing to reach settlement without court involvement. They agree to work together to resolve children and financial issues arising out of the separation, and may enlist other experts, such as child specialists, as part of the team. It brings lawyers into the process, and helps minimise costs and hopefully conflict for all concerned.At its simplest, collaborative law is about making key decisions about the future all together in the same room, face to face. Clients agree not go to court and the Collaborative lawyers sign an agreement with them that disqualifies them from representing them in court if the process breaks down. This means that collaborative lawyers are absolutely committed to helping clients find the best solutions by agreement, rather than conflict.
Resolution (previously known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) has 6500 members all of whom are family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Their members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems and looks for solutions that consider the needs of the whole family – and in particular the best interests of children. You can find a collaborative lawyer from their site here and you can find a mediator here.
A City Law Firm have a section for Family & Child Law and all their Family Solicitors are members of the Resolution Panel. They handle an array of issues from pre-nuptial/civil partnership advice – divorce or dissolution – surrogacy, fertility law, adoption to cohabitation separations, child orders and international financial remedy proceedings. They offer free Thursday clinics for city professionals by appointment.
Accord Mediation Services of Eastbourne and London, have been providing expert, professional family and civil services for over 20 years. They Offer both online (skype) mediation and face to face services fully priced on the web site. The site also contains lots of useful information for those using mediation services. As they say, mediation is voluntary, and offers separating and divorcing couples the opportunity to resolve issues arising from the break-down of their relationship and to make arrangements for their children, separation, finances, property, debts and the future.
Alternative Family Law – Southwark, London, a great deal of free information about family law including alternatives to litigation (including mediation and collaborative law), divorce, financial issues (including complext financial cases), international family law, family law issues affecting gay men and lesbians (including civil partnership and parenting) and issues about children and cohabitation. The site provides information in German as well as English.
bbl family law of Norwich, offer information on a wide range of approaches to resolving relationship breakdown. The partners of the firm are experienced litigators, mediators and skilled negotiators, and are actively involved in developing new methods of resolving family breakdown.
Blanchards Law of London and Henley-on-Thames, are mediators and collaboratively trained lawyers. They believe they can offer their clients more options and a more holistic service than the conventional rush to court. They say that the essence of a good mediated or collaborated settlement is an independent arbitrator, that the process is voluntary and confidential and that full financial disclosure is given. There is a good description of these topics here.
Collaborative Law at barristers 1KBW provides a family-centered forum for reaching a solution which avoids a Court battle. Parties and their lawyers agree at the outset that they will not litigate. If the process fails without agreement, then the parties have to instruct different lawyers to represent them in Court.
Devon Family Solutions, based in Exeter and established in 1991, is one of the largest agencies of its kind in the country and pioneered the Mediation movement. It can assist couples from all over the region who are experiencing separation or divorce. All mediators are selected and trained to recognized National and European standards and directly accountable to a national body; FMA, SFLA or PDT. All are members of the UK College of Family Mediators (UKCFM).
Divorce Aid is a site run by an independent group of professionals who volunteer their time to help people with divorce problems. Advice is provided, by email, without any payment or promise of further work. There is also a great deal of free information, attractively and helpfully presented, on the site itself (and some attractive graphic designs to go with the sections). They even operated a full service over Christmas! They promote mediation and counselling and also promote collaborative law, as a new, more dignified, approach to divorce.
Family Mediation Ireland (FMI) is a private client family mediation service. FMI operate nationwide across the Republic of Ireland and use the co-mediation method for conducting family mediations. Mediations are conducted with one male and one female mediator working with each couple in dispute. Family mediation can be used to Agree the terms of a Divorce or Legal Separation, Resolve child maintenance, guardianship, custody or access arrangements, Resolve a family dispute, Divide property and assets by agreement, Resolve inheritance/probate disputes, Agree ongoing methods/means of communication between people in dispute, Resolve passport or travel issues for children and Resolve issues relating to the schooling of children.
Family Mediators Association offers trained mediators to help all couples facing separation or divorce to reach decisions about dealing with children, property and finance. Family mediation is a voluntary process by which couples in dispute, particularly those going through separation or divorce, are helped to deal with arrangements for their future.
Family Mediation Choice is the site of Paul Holder, an experienced family mediator available to help you reach agreement over child contact, finances and other practical issues, as a result of relationship breakdown. He is skilled at diffusing conflict even when communication has broken down. He covers Bristol and the South West.
Harbour Family Law of Bristol and Portishead, are specialist family Solicitors. Principal Katy Zikking has specialised in Collaborative law since its introduction in 2005 and has seen the enormous benefits that Collaborative practice can provide to individuals going through family difficulties.
Helplink Support Services is an Irish company providing low cost Mediation online or by teleconferencing. This form of mediation allows persons or parties to engage in dispute resolution from the comfort of their own homes or legal council’s office which reduces time, costs and stress for all concerned. Helplink Mediators work with Families, Organisations and Companies that have disputes or are in conflict.
Inspire Family Solicitors & Mediators Ltd is a niche family firm based in central Salisbury. Inspire offers legally aided mediation. Caroline Frost (Principal Solicitor) and Andrea Boutcher (Senior Solicitor) are both Resolution trained Mediators and Collaborative Lawyers, offering mediation and collaborative law in all areas of family law and relationship dispute. Andrea can also consult directly with children in mediation and is a Civil and Commercial Mediator accredited with ADR Group.
Intelligent Divorce is a site which helps people prepare for divorce, in the sense of explaining what documents, papers and financial reports they have to produce. The service helps the person wanting a divorce – or the couple wanting to do it co-operatively – to assemble the information and can then provide an expert opinion from a specialist family barrister at a leading chambers. The service has been set up by two family lawyers, James Roberts, a barrister at 1 Kings Bench Walk and Mahie Abey, Head of Family Law at Dawson Hart solicitors in East Sussex. The user does not need to pay money to start with – the use of the forms and web site is free, but at the point that they want to submit the information to the lawyers, a fee is payable. The cost for using the “solo service” is £780 (inc VAT) while the co-operative service (for both parties) costs £1,630 (inc VAT). These are fixed fees but external fees would also be payable – Court fees of £45 to lodge the financial order and £385 for the actual divorce. There could also be valuation fees from financial experts (if needed). fo
Mediation East comes from solicitors Bridge McFarland who have offices in Grimsby, Lincoln, Hull, Market Rasen, Louth, Mablethorpe, Skegness and Doncaster. The Mediation East site has extensive information on Family Mediation – what it is, how it works and how much it costs.
MyMediation from Winston Solicitors, based in Leeds, are experienced in helping parties resolve all issues following a relationship breakdown. As solicitors, they fully understand the technical and practical aspects of family law and the legal system including financial issues.
Nationwide Family Mediation Service is a leading provider of family mediation covering children, property and assets when separating or divorcing. There are members of the nation wide grouping at many locations around the UK. The firms deal with marital, common law and same sex partnership disputes, help resolve disputes involving arrangements with children following a marriage or partnership breakdown, and assist in reaching an agreement to resolve difficult situations without the need for court orders
Staffordshire Collaborative Lawyers are a group of like-minded, specialist, family lawyers with many years experience advising clients on separation, divorce, children and financial matters and their implications. Although they come from different law firms, they have all received special training in the collaborative approach and now come together not only to help their clients but to further general awareness of collaborative law. They are all members of the Collaborative Family Law Group of Resolution, the specialist association of family lawyers, and their collaborative work builds on the long-established Resolution approach that family disputes should be dealt with in a constructive way designed to preserve people’s dignity and to encourage agreements.
The Worcester Family Mediation Practice provides information on how family mediation and collaborative law works.