Arbitration in family cases

1 July 2020

Even before the present crisis and "lockdown" the Family Courts were struggling to keep on top of their work load.

Now, that problem is even worse.

Apart from emergencies, for example domestic violence and child abduction, very few Court hearings are taking place where Judges are able to make final decisions.

Divorces are taking longer and longer even if they are undefended, Judges are taking longer just to approve agreements in relation to financial issues and applications with regard to children are taking longer to be resolved.

Unfortunately, the trends are all in one direction and this is very unlikely to change.

The situation will only get worse.

However, there is a positive alternative to waiting for Judges to have an opportunity to make decisions, whether that be about financial issues, about the arrangements for children or both.

That is Family Arbitration.

Family Arbitration takes place under the auspices of a scheme run by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, IFLA. 

The IFLA website contains a very useful guide to how Arbitration works in family cases.

Family Arbitration is available to resolve financial issues (for example, capital division, pensions, maintenance) and is also available where parents aren't able to agree about the arrangements for their children.

It is available equally to those who are married, those in civil partnerships and also those who are living together and not in a legally recognised relationship.

It makes no difference how complicated or otherwise the issues may be.

Cases involving high net worth, ultra net worth or cases involving far more modest income and capital are all suitable for Arbitration.

Family Arbitrators are always very experienced family lawyers, solicitors, barristers and retired judges.

Their decisions are as binding as decisions made by Judges and it is extremely difficult to appeal against the decision of a Family Arbitrator.

All Arbitrations are in private and are totally confidential.

The process is far quicker than waiting for Courts to make a decision and less expensive.

Family Arbitration is also much more flexible than the Court process and far less intimidating for those involved.

Graham Coy, a Partner in the Family department at Wilsons, is an Arbitrator qualified to deal with both financial issues and also with issues concerning children.

Graham will be more than pleased to provide more information about Arbitration, timescales and fees. You can contact him direct or by using the enquiry form.    

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