Frequently Asked Questions

How much will it cost?

The cost depends on whether you choose mediation, collaboration or arbitration, how much time is spent and the complexity of the issues involved.

Many of the lawyers, mediators and financial advisers within the Good Divorce Group will offer a fixed fee service and all members of the Good Divorce Group will provide a very clear estimate at the outset as to the likely costs in your case.

Mediation meetings are always a fixed fee per meeting. Collaborative Law and Arbitration are quoted on a bespoke basis depending on the time needed and complexity of the issues.

Whichever option you choose to adopt, as a general rule of thumb, if agreement can be reached without the need for contested Court proceedings, the overall costs will be lower than going to Court.

How long will it take?

Every case is different and your chosen lawyer or mediator will be able to offer you guidance as to how much time you are likely to need to spend to reach agreement on all of the issues in your case.

Most mediation and collaborative meetings take one and a half to two hours. Some couples will reach agreement very quickly and only require two to three meetings however, most couples probably require something in the region of four to six meetings.

If the couple have appointed an arbitrator, the amount of time that the arbitrator will require to conclude the case will depend upon the complexity of the issues involved.

Can I find out more before I decide which option is best for me?

Yes. Most lawyers will offer a free initial call or meeting during which they will discuss each of the options and help you decide which option is best for you.

How do I decide which option is best for me?

Your lawyer will explain each of the different processes to you and will help you choose the most suitable option.

Factors that may affect the choice are things such as the existing level of communication between you and your partner, the types of issues involved and the financial resources available to you and your former partner. Your lawyer will take full details from you in relation to your family circumstances and finances and will offer advice and guidance as to which option is likely to suit you best.

Is it confidential?

Yes. All of the non-Court options are confidential and the arbitrator, mediator or collaborative lawyer would not give details about your case to a third party unless you had consented to this.

Also, the discussions that take place during mediation or collaboration are “without prejudice”. This means that if either you or your partner felt unable to continue with mediation or collaborative law neither of you would be able to tell a Court what was discussed during your meetings unless you both agreed to this happening (the only exception would be if there were concerns about serious risks to a child).

My partner and I are not ready to sort out money but want to agree arrangements for the children. Can you help?

Yes. One of the benefits of choosing one of the three non-Court options is that you and your former partner can set the agenda for discussions.

Often a couple with children will want to spend the first few meetings focusing on the arrangements for the children without discussing any money issues.

Ultimately the speed at which the process moves forward and the issues to be discussed are in your control.

Does my partner need to know I have contacted you?

No. You can get in touch with any of the lawyers and they won’t tell anyone else until you give permission.

What happens if my spouse doesn’t agree to come along?

The non-court options only work if both partners are prepared to try to resolve issues sensibly. If one just doesn’t want to discuss in this way it won’t work.

Our experience is that generally it is worth trying to resolve matters in this way, bearing in mind that the alternative is to use the court system. Our collective years of experience using the system have persuaded us that it should be used as a last resort and that non- court options are preferable.

My situation is complex/unusual can you still help?

Yes. The lawyers in the Good Divorce Group are very experienced and specialised in this area of law. They are used to handling complex cases. The best first step is to telephone and speak to one of the lawyers and they can talk through the options. It may be that you would need a meeting with the lawyer so that they can fully understand your situation. The non-court options are flexible and bespoke so they work well where there are complex or usual situations.

My spouse is very angry/aggressive/distressed – will this still work?

It depends. These options work best when both parties are trying to reach a sensible decision and come prepared to reach agreement. The timing can be important. Sometimes people going through a separation feel very strong emotions initially, but this can settle down over time and they can begin to think clearly about what they want to resolve. It might be that the parties need to wait and give themselves some time before they meet. Or the process might need to slow a little to give all parties time to be emotionally ready to go ahead.

The lawyers will make sure that parties are not put into pressured situations and will work hard to make sure that clear, reasoned agreements are reached.

If the lawyer feels that a person is not thinking clearly, or is angry or distressed they can stop the collaborative meeting or mediation. Any of the parties can stop the meeting at any point if they wish to.

The lawyers will not accept aggressive behaviour, and will stop the meeting in that event.

What happens if we try a non court option and it fails/we can’t reach agreement?

There is nothing to stop parties trying other non court options – Mediation, Collaborative Law or Arbitration.

Otherwise you will need to instruct a new solicitor to act on your behalf. You can use any of the other solicitors on the list here from a different law firm.

They might advise you to continue to negotiate with their assistance or to begin court proceedings to resolve the issues.

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