It is clearly the case that in any situation where a separation occurs, whether that be a separation between a cohabiting couple, a married couple or a couple in a civil partnership, there are likely to be conflicting points of view to be considered.

It is important that there should be vehicles in place to afford couples, and their children, the opportunity to resolve those issues. In some cases, it is of course necessary to involve the courts and we have experience of dealing with all forms of family law litigation. However, our initial aim is always to attempt to resolve matters without resort to litigation. In many cases, it is possible to resolve the outstanding issues between a separating couple through a process of negotiation, usually with each party involving their own solicitor. Sometimes negotiations take place at joint meetings in which all parties convene in one location. Such joint meetings can either take place with all parties sitting around the same table or else on a shuttle basis with parties sitting apart from each other and communication taking place through their respective solicitors.

Many cases are resolved by one of those forms of negotiation. There are three modern forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) each of which have a role to play in the family law picture.

Collaborative law is a relatively new method of dispute resolution in divorce cases. In collaborative law both parties to the divorce retain separate, specially trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the case. If the lawyers do not succeed in helping the clients to resolve the issues, the lawyers are prevented contractually from representing either client against the other in any court proceedings which might follow. All participants agree to work together respectfully, honestly and in good faith to try to find mutually acceptable solutions to the legitimate needs of both parties. Gillian Crandles and Sally Nash in Edinburgh and Noel Ferry in Glasgow are all collaboratively trained and are happy to conduct cases on this basis.

Mediation is a form of ADR which allows issues between parties to be aired on a confidential basis using the services of a trained mediator to assist the parties in coming to a mutually acceptable decision as to how issues arising from separation should be resolved. The mediator is not an arbitrator and is not in the role of giving legal advice to either of the parties. Parties are free to seek their own legal advice during the conduct of the mediation. There are three distinct forms of mediation which can be used in family law cases.

  • Scottish Family Mediation - Family mediation is a voluntary process that gives families experiencing conflict the opportunity to make arrangements relating to issues of the children, money, property and possessions. There are a number of local organisations throughout Scotland and the mediators in question are generally not lawyers. Couples attend without having their solicitors present. We find that this service is particularly suited to assisting parents in resolving issues to do with their children.
  • CALM is an organisation of experienced family lawyers who are well placed to act as mediators both in relation to child related disputes and financial matters. Couples in any stage of separation or divorce can be referred to a CALM mediator with a view to seeking ways of resolving the issues entirely separate from the court process. Couples use the services of a CALM mediator without having their solicitors present to represent them as part of the process.
  • Commercial Mediation - There are a number of firms who supply a commercial mediation service and which offer family law as one discipline within their umbrella. Couples are sometimes referred to such mediation services where they wish to be represented during the mediation process, for example where there are particularly complex financial issues to be resolved.

Family mediation is a voluntary process that gives families experiencing conflict the opportunity to make arrangements relating to issues of the children, money, property and possessions. There are a number of local organisations throughout Scotland and the mediators in question are generally not lawyers. Couples attend without having their solicitors present. We find that this service is particularly suited to assisting parents in resolving issues to do with their children.

CALM is an organisation of experienced family lawyers who are well placed to act as mediators both in relation to child related disputes and financial matters. Couples in any stage of separation or divorce can be referred to a CALM mediator with a view to seeking ways of resolving the issues entirely separate from the court process. Couples use the services of a CALM mediator without having their solicitors present to represent them as part of the process.

There are a number of firms who supply a commercial mediation service and which offer family law as one discipline within their umbrella. Couples are sometimes referred to such mediation services where they wish to be represented during the mediation process, for example where there are particularly complex financial issues to be resolved.

Arbitration has been introduced to Scottish family law as a result of the provisions of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010. It provides a direct alternative to litigation whereby the parties agree to refer the resolution of contentious matters in their case by way of their solicitors to an accredited arbitrator who will always be an experienced family law solicitor or Counsel. The process is adversarial but has the advantages over litigation that it is more focused; presided over by an experienced family law lawyer; entirely confidential; and usually much quicker than court action. Both Alasdair Loudon and Gillian Crandles are accredited arbitrators and we are in a position either to accept referrals from other firms to arbitrate in particular cases or to refer cases of our own clients to an arbitrator mutually chosen by ourselves and the solicitor acting for our client's opponent.

 

Our family law solicitors shall be pleased to advise on the most suitable form of dispute resolution for a particular case and to make the necessary arrangements.

We’re always happy to discuss things further.
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