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Will I need to go to court to get a divorce?

It can be difficult dealing with a divorce and the possibility of going to court.  Most family breakdown and separation matters do not need court intervention.

It is only required when there has been persisting disagreement between the parties over issues, and those which could not be resolved without statutory involvement administered by the court of law.

Due to recent progressive approach for life by the parties to move on, they are effectively working out solutions to avoid court involvement to resolve such disputes amicably.

You might have assessed your position, and you find it difficult to come to terms with such efforts of unreasonable behaviour taken by your former partner in sorting out the issues. You may have already decided to provide a fitting reply through court intervention as you feel you have better chances of succeeding in controlling unreasonable behaviour of your former partner. There may be other reasons that your case has already been substantially heard in the court of law and the court process is ongoing.

hammer and rings

However, you should not overlook the points listed below to avoid going to court, and in turn result in a smooth separation process yourself.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an economical and swifter way to resolve legal issues. Alternative Dispute Resolution gives an opportunity for you to participate in discussions and explain the situation in a more coherent manner. ADR is more comfortable, flexible and receptive for the people who want things to be decided on a proactive note and keep their life moving on. ADR process makes the parties more responsible and to strictly comply with their commitments. It also helps in nurturing positive relationship between parties by moderating the conflict environment around. Further, ADR may also inspire parties for continuing relationship to share parenting responsibilities in an amicable manner. You might look at several ways of ADR process and discuss them with your former partner. There are several ADR methods and they are given below for you to consider:


  • Mediation is a method of ADR whereby litigating parties meet to discuss matters with the help of a neutral third party to resolve disputes. The party moderating the process is called a mediator. A mediator understands the parties’ position to assess the nature of the conflict and figure out apt ways to moderate the state of affairs. The mediator would assist the parties to realise the circumstances they are in and would first advise them work out a win-win position to settle the matter. ADR through mediation is usually opted with a view to save costs, time and further litigation by settlement in early stages of the conflict.  However, parties cannot be forced to participate in mediation and it is only voluntary and on agreement. Mediation is usually not binding on parties and would not guarantee settlement of the issues. This is due to the fact that a mediator in a family relationship breakdown is usually an independent third party and does not hold statutory position.


  • Collaborative Law is a process which helps in resolving legal disputes that may replace usual court proceedings. Parties voluntarily negotiate and work with their Divorce Lawyer and experts in assessing the dispute matter. There is transparent exchange of information and material evidence to understand the matter in depth. Collaborative law process is considered as good faith process with proactive and supporting approach by parties to the dispute. Collaborative law process helps in clarifying concerns which are important to the parties. These concerns are sometimes trivial, which on reflection look to be complicated. Parties sometime in an emotional outburst usually involve in needless litigation without assessing core issues and success rates on technical grounds, which result in inflated costs on legal fees and other related expenses. Collaborative law process helps in reducing costs and time which is usually found in prolonged court litigation.  In view of child care and support collaborative law process may be a positive approach in a matrimonial dispute as the partners can assess their abilities and contribution in co-parenting.


  • Round Table Discussions – You may consider Round Table Discussions with your former partner along with your Divorce Lawyer to evaluate facts and evidence. The Divorce Lawyer of both partners would understand each party’s viewpoint on the desired outcome and work accordingly to reach a settlement. In these meetings your Divorce Lawyer would be handling most part of the negotiations considering while individual positions. Sometimes, a Round Table Discussion may be a surprising move and can impress upon the other party about your position which may be vulnerable to them. However, during Round Table Discussions it is difficult to reach a settlement as, facts, allegations and material evidence are not substantiated or checked for authenticity.


  • An Arbitrator is a person or a group of persons agreed by disputing parties to decide on an issue in case of conflict. Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is handled by one or more arbitrators. This Arbitrator would adjudicate upon facts, circumstances and evidence and make a binding decision on the parties. In an ADR process you may choose for arbitration on agreement with you former partner instead of going to a court and avoid protracted legal proceedings.  Arbitration process is usually taken up by consent of both disputing parties and involves legal expenses.  Arbitration process in matrimonial disputes can be considered if there are substantial and major issues to adjudicate upon which involve child custody, visitation, property, assets and liabilities distribution. Arbitrators are usually professionals and experts. They go deep into facts, circumstances and evidence before arriving at decision. The decision of the arbitrator is binding and an appeal or challenge shall depend upon statutory provisions.


  • Private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) – FDR is a new method of ADR in a matrimonial dispute to resolve financial issues after the relationship breakdown. This FDR process is looked upon in the cases where parties are involved in large amount of wealth and estate disputes. In an FDR a part-time judge’s services are sought. The Divorce Lawyers of both parties represent their respective clients and make their submissions. In the first instance, with the intervention of the part-time Judge the parties usually look for swift, fair and reasonable settlement. However, in case of disagreement, the matter is decided upon perusal and review of facts, circumstances and evidence placed before the Judge. The services of the private Judge are obtained on payment and the Judge would be neutral in all circumstances.

Here at Austin Kemp we can assess the precise nature of assistance you may require and provide you with the legal advice which is focused on your needs and circumstances.

You should always consider obtaining professional legal services for at least obtaining initial advice about your position and to understand the correct direction to go about and managing an appropriate separation process. A family legal advisor will able to take care of all your requirements in the emotional circumstances you may be going through taking into account important factors like financial management, child custody and co-parenting issues to be discussed in a mediation process. You may be in situations where you may be unable to make decisions due to immense emotional stress. In such cases, our team of experts can assist you in considering practicalities of the position and to take an informed decision. You also need to understand eligibility criterion for legal aid and other reliefs. ADR process is a good method to cut your legal costs and related costs but only if they are successful. You may check in for local social services providing mediation where children welfare is in question during family relationship breakdown.

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.


Contact us to see how we can help with your divorce

For more information on the divorce process call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email

We offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4HY

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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30th August 2016

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