Harold G Walker

Harold G Walker Solicitors

Your Friend-In-Law for over 77 years


An alternative approach to the resolution of family law disputes.


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From 29th April 2024, there are going to be significant changes to the approach that the Family Courts expect couples to take concerning the resolution of disputes, to allow for the greater consideration of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This should include the resolution of financial matters relating to divorce and cases involving arrangements with your children following parental separation, which are governed by the Family Procedure Rules (FPR).



The Family Court Approach to ADR

Very recently, a Family Court judge emphasised the importance of couples to consider ‘at every stage’ of the court proceedings, the appropriateness of ADR in an attempt to direct the minds of couple towards reach a solution. This can help avoid the delay, expense and ongoing stress that reaching a solution at court may bring.


The point made by the Family Court judge was very valid and one that is already embraced by many family law professionals including the HGW Family Team; a requirement (when the court so requires), in family law cases for parties to court proceedings to notify the court within a specific time frame. of ‘…. their views on using non-court dispute resolution as a means of resolving the matters raised in the matters raised in the proceedings’.



Cohabitee disputes

Financial and property disputes between unmarried cohabitees are governed by different Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which can be stricter than the FPR.


The CPR empowers the court to pause a case and compel the parties to proceed to ADR provided certain criteria are satisfied, which include consideration of whether there is the concern of ongoing intimidation, or the proportionate cost of referring to the ADR.


The CPR also provide the courts with greater powers to apply costs penalties, if a proper attempt at ADR has not been made.



Timing in all cases

Whether within the Family Court or Civil Court, the timing of ADR attendance is crucial.


If you are at the very early stages of the court proceedings, the court may consider that it is more appropriate for your dispute to be considered via ADR to try to help save you the time, stress and legal costs that will otherwise inevitably be incurred via contested court proceedings.


If you have not yet commenced court proceedings and you are looking to negotiate to avoid court, all options remain open to you.


When you come to Harold G. Walker Solicitors for advice, we can consider all of your circumstances with you and advise you on how best to plan your case, providing you with clear informed choices.


To learn more about Non-Court Dispute Resolution options and how they may benefit your case, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team at Harold G. Walker Solicitors is committed to guiding you through the alternative approaches available, ensuring you make informed decisions tailored to your unique circumstances.