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Publish date

15 May 2024

Empowering advisors through Alternative Dispute Resolution in divorce

The principles applied by the courts in resolving financial matters on divorce are “broad brush”.  This is often for good reason and the combative nature of court proceedings only make it more difficult for the courts to finesse the final outcome. This can lead to the intricacies of individual financial planning needs being overlooked.

While it may not always be feasible to circumvent the court system when addressing financial matters in divorce, opting for a more voluntary or cooperative approach wherever possible holds numerous virtues. Not only does it promise substantial cost savings and sidestep the delays inherent in court proceedings, but it also spares individuals the emotional toll of litigation. Additionally, choosing a cooperative route allows for a greater degree of subtlety and nuance, ensuring that the resulting agreement aligns effectively with each party’s financial objectives.

The various methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) allow for couples to work with their wider network of advisers, such as financial, business and tax advisers. This collaborative effort ensures that the agreement reached is not just fair by the courts’ standards, but also structured to accommodate the couple’s individual financial or wealth preservation objectives.

There are a range of ADR options to consider and that we can assist with:

One Couple One Lawyer

 One of the newest ADR options. The couple appoint the same solicitor to help them come to an agreement. The lawyer is able to give specific legal advice, apply the law to the facts of the case and guide the couple to reach an agreement. The discussions take place together as does the process of drafting any final agreement.

Mediation

The couple meet with a trained mediator.  The mediator assists the couple by guiding and facilitating the negotiations.  Unlike “One Couple One Lawyer” the mediator will not give tailored legal advice but will raise key considerations for the couple to ensure these are not overlooked.

Collaborative law

All discussions take place in person or remotely with each party having their own collaborative lawyer at the meetings. The lawyers, unusually, work together to try and help couples come to a solution. The collaborative process allows you to be more innovative than the family courts can be.

As each of the above is a cooperative process they are flexible and can be suitably adapted by the couple to meet the needs of each case.  For example, couples may agree for an IFA or a tax expert to sit in on discussions in order to answer questions any that arise in real-time.  These can then be factored into the agreement as the parties go along.

Every case is different and there is no “one-size fits all”.  However, for almost all cases, we find that there is a suitable method of ADR that will work for couples as long as they agree to engage in good faith.  As noted above, this can result in significant cost-savings for the parties.  In this sense, trusted advisers have a key role to play in encouraging couples towards ADR.

If you have any questions about the topics raised in this article then please get in touch info@ts-p.co.uk.

 

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