Boyes Turner’s Family Law team reviewed the latest statistics and found two important points to be noted:
It is taking longer to resolve private children law cases, and this upward trend is likely to continue.
There is a decrease in the number of people that are legally represented in family court proceedings.
Private children law
Given that the time to resolve private children law cases is likely to continue to increase, parties should carefully consider opting for mediation for speed. Mediation generally takes less time to complete than court proceedings, but for other benefits such as a greater degree of control, autonomy and flexibility, preservation of relationships, a foundation for future problem-solving and much more.
For the same reasons, parties should also consider arbitration when trying to resolve private children law cases. The added benefit of arbitration is that it provides finality in that the decision is legally binding, therefore it is tantamount to a final order in Children Act proceedings.
The stats showed an increase in the number of people that are going through the divorce or dissolution process with little or no help from a solicitor, which is also known as a “DIY divorce or dissolution”. While parties are always encouraged to agree matters as much as possible, it is important to note that while the divorce or dissolution process appears to be straightforward, problems can arise which relate to the division of finances on divorce.
Parties should be encouraged and lauded for working out their own financial agreement, with or without legal support, and can often be seen as a timely and inexpensive way forward, but the resolution of financial matters can be complex and there are many things to be considered. Therefore, there is immeasurable value and benefit attached to obtaining some level of legal advice from a specialist family solicitor, to help you understand your rights and the effects of any agreement reached.
There is no reason why parties cannot engage in mediation, but with the benefit of separate legal advice in the background from a specialist family solicitor, this guides parties to the legal principles, ensuring that any agreement reached can be made into a legally binding and enforceable consent order.
The statistics from the previous quarter raise further arguments in support of compulsory mediation, given the length of time it is taking to resolve private children law cases and the decrease in legal representation. Although it is important to note that mediation should not exclude the opportunity for parties to seek independent legal advice so that they understand the full implications and effects of the agreement that they are entering into.
The family team here at Boyes Turner is available to assist you, whether it is mediation or legal advice on your family matters. Please do not hesitate to contact us today should you require our assistance.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.