What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative dispute resolution is any method of resolving disputes without going to Court.

Perhaps the most common form of ADR is mediation. Mediation involves the use of an impartial third party (the Mediator) to encourage and facilitate discussions between the parties. This helps them reach their own informed decisions. Where a relationship breaks down, the decisions may be about how their assets might be divided upon separation, where the children are to live, how to share the responsibilities for the children, and/or the level of support that might need to be provided. The list is not exhaustive as any number of concerns or issues might be addressed in mediation such as the initial transitional arrangements of a separation and responsibility for payment of bills, or how to work together to tell the children.

Another popular method of ADR is collaborative law. This is where the parties to a relationship breakdown each instruct their own collaborative lawyer. The parties and the lawyers sit down together in the same room to work out solutions face to face, having all entered into an agreement that they will reach a solution without going to Court. Collaborative lawyers are committed to avoiding conflict and will help the parties find the best solutions by agreement.

Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

The benefits and attraction of ADR is that the parties retain control of the key decisions affecting their future, rather than decisions being imposed by a Judge in a Courtroom. Solutions can be tailor-made to suit the parties’ particular circumstances. The procedure is often quicker and less expensive when compared to the Court process, as well as being confidential. It is also good for parties who want to emerge with a continuing relationship. This is particularly important where children are involved.

ADR is not, however, a soft option. It requires a genuine desire on the part of the parties to make it work. This can be quite a challenge for parties who are suffering the emotional upset of the breakdown and who are harbouring feelings of loss, anger or hurt. It also requires a willingness to fully and honestly disclose information about assets. A skilled trained ADR lawyer will be practiced in addressing such matters.

For more information or to discuss ADR options contact our Family Team on 10903 229999.