Our approach to Divorce
Outcome focused Divorce
This is to focus on the final outcome. In other words;
- Achieving a final Decree Absolute of Divorce in the least antagonistic way possible.
- Ensuring that there is safety for our client and their children.
- Achieving a fair financial settlement (The Law is clear the the settlement must be fair).
- Achieving good and sustainable arrangements for the children.
This is not to say that there will different interpretations of what makes a fair financial settlement. However negotiations are always more likely to succeed when both involved are adopting broadly reasonable positions.
In doing so, we will ;
- Avoid inflammatory language.
- Help our client to where possible, avoid unnecessary disputes.
- Remain child focused.
- Remain committed to offer value for money
- Refer to other professionals as needed.
We will help our clients to find the best way to sort out what needs to be sorted out from the Divorce. This could be through;
- Advising on Mediation
- Collaborative Family Law
- Solicitor led negotiation
- Instructing an Arbitrator (a private Judge – see our pages about Arbitration)
- Court Proceedings
The choice of a Solicitor to assist through this difficult time is very important. The best starting point is to meet and to discuss the best route forward.
This all sounds very simple, but…
Not all divorces are straightforward. Unfortunately the following types of problem can arise:
- Parties being obstructive. For example not replying to letters/emails or not being open about their financial situation.
- Parties not taking legal advice at all – so they don’t understand what a fair outcome would actually look like.
- Not dealing with emotional matters properly or at all. For Example feelings of anger can cloud judgement. For either or both of the couple to at least check in with a counsellor is usually a good idea.
- Becoming trapped in a dispute with the other party. No-one wants to settle – they want a victory. The ultimate outcome is often disappointing (and expensive).
- Forgetting that successful negotiation requires compromise. Negotiation is not about – take it or leave it, Instead it is about creating as many win/wins as possible.
- Losing sight of the needs of children – children of all ages invariably want their parents to sort out any problems quickly, sensibly, and with the minimum of animosity.
- Solicitors (sadly) being overly litigious and too easily dismissing non court dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative law.
- Aggressive solicitor (or unrepresented party) letters and emails upsetting and winding up the other party and making problems worse.
The list could go on…
Choosing a Solicitor
The choice of a Solicitor is very important. Not all solicitors and not all firms are the same.
We cannot speak for others, but we will do things our way, which we believe is the right way.
This means that we will first of all explore whether Mediation or Collaborative Law are realistic.
If these are not suitable, is focussed solicitor/solicitor negotiation possible?
If negotiations outside of Court are not appropriate, then we will advise an application be made to the Court. This will ensure that a decision is made. However always be aware that once the case is in Court, the process belongs to the Court and costs can accumulate at a rate.
If the case does go to Court, then we would not want expand the proceedings into issues which are ultimately irrelevant to the final outcome. We would wish to remain focussed, and reasonable and respectful. We would want to get you from A to B, but avoiding C,D and E!
Sometimes exploring whether a negotiated settlement is possible establishes that it is not and causes some delay, but to do otherwise (unless it is obvious that there can be no fair negotiated solution) commits the client to what may have been avoidable cost.
We try to give as much information about ourselves as possible to help clients to make a better choice as whether we are right for them or not.
Resolution Members and Divorce
We are enthusiastic members of Resolution.
Ian Walker is the Chair of the Devon Region of Resolution. There are around 160 Resolution members in Devon. The Devon Resolution Committee represents Devon members of Resolution and we help members to keep up to date with good practice.
We follow the Resolution Code of Practice
Being a Resolution Member doesn’t guarantee that a Solicitor will follow both the spirit and the letter of the code.
However we would hope that Ian’s long commitment in leading our local group shows our commitment. (3x3year terms as Chair and 4 years as Treasurer). In addition Ian is a member of the national Resolution Dispute Resolution Committee and a former Member of the Law Society Family Law Committee and a Former Trustee of Family Mediators Association.
Words are easy. We try to practice what we preach.