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At OTS Solicitors, our family law solicitors believe the best way to resolve most family law disputes is outside of the courtroom. Therefore, we invest heavily in supporting our clients resolve their family law disputes through mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods.
Our family lawyers in London are headed by Rakhi Singal. Rakhi has over five years’ experience in family law and litigation. She has advised and represented clients in high-net-worth divorce cases involving complex financial settlements, overseas relocation cases, child arrangement negotiation and mediation, and domestic violence matters. Rakhi is also a member of Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers who follow a strict Code of Practice designed to resolve family law matters in a constructive, non-confrontation manner. Resolution members also campaign for improvements to the family justice system.
Rakhi and her team are committed to helping couples resolve family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner. As with all the best divorce lawyers, one of the primary objectives of our service is to help couples avoid ending up in court unless absolutely necessary.
Using alternative dispute resolution methods is now the norm in family law. In a majority of cases, there is an increasing requirement to try alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve disagreements before applying to the court.
Our family law solicitors invest heavily in keeping up to date on the range of alternative dispute resolution methods available, meaning we can give our clients the best options for their family’s situation based on solid research. As a team, we are committed to resolving family law disputes as quickly as possible, in a conflict free manner, and putting the needs of children at the centre of any decision-making.
This is in accordance with the Law Society's family law Protocol which provides that: “…unless it is clearly inappropriate to do so, family lawyers must explain alternative methods of resolving disputes outside the court process and advise on the benefits and/or limitations in the client’s specific case plus the role of the solicitor in supporting the non-court dispute resolution process where appropriate. The potential suitability of alternative methods of dispute resolution should be kept under review throughout a case.”
When instructing our family law team at OTS Solicitors, you can have complete trust and confidence that we embody the Law Society's family law Protocol and Resolution’s Code of Practice and are dedicated to getting the best result for you and your family.
Types of alternative dispute resolution in family law
The two main types of alternative resolution methods in family law are:
- direct negotiation
As members of Resolution, Rakhi and her team are committed to encouraging and supporting couples reach agreements around financial settlements and arrangements for their children in a peaceful manner. If there is trust and willingness between the parties, most family disputes can be resolved through direct negotiation.
Round-table negotiations can be a swift method of reaching agreements between parties in a family law dispute. They also result in less lengthy paperwork between solicitors, thus reducing the cost of legal advice.
If you and your partner agree to resolve your issues through round-table negotiation, our family lawyers in London will provide you with full support, helping you achieve your objectives in a non-confrontational manner.
For some couples, having an impartial third-party help them work through a dispute provides the platform they need to reach a resolution quickly and amicably.
The conventional family law model of mediation is where a mediator sees clients individually for an intake session (30 minutes) and thereafter sees them jointly. As family law solicitors, we are usually not present in the room, rather we provide advice outside of the mediation process.
An average mediation will involve three to five mediation sessions each lasting one and a half hours.
The advantages of family mediation are numerous:
- the mediation process is voluntary, meaning couples who agree to attend are usually invested in achieving a workable solution
- mediation is confidential—the parties are free to discuss their positions openly knowing that the mediator will not report their discussions to the court if the mediation breaks down
- the mediator will often prepare a schedule of assets and some options together with net-effect schedules to go through with the parties during the mediation—the parties will then see which option is likely to be the most appropriate for them and discuss its terms to try and reach a mutual settlement
- mediation allows the couple to be in control of the process and reach a resolution between themselves with the help of a third-party, which in turn makes the decisions they make more likely to remain in place long-term.
Mediation is not suitable for everyone. For example, if there is a history of domestic violence or abuse in the relationship, it is unlikely that the mediation process would be an advisable dispute resolution method.
Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on a particular family law matter such as how to divide their finances, there may be no option than to seek a court order. In most cases, it is compulsory for a couple to attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to find out how mediation works and whether it is an appropriate method to resolve the dispute.
If the matter being disputed requires an urgent decision or there has been violence or abuse in your relationship, you may be exempt from having to attend a MIAM conference.
For a more detailed discussion regarding alternative dispute resolution methods, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123.