Several of our members are family law arbitrators. This is another alternative to court proceedings for family disputes – some people call it ‘private judging’.
In family arbitration, you and your partner or spouse appoint a qualified arbitrator to make a binding decision, applying the principles of the law in England and Wales, after having heard arguments from both sides’ lawyers, either in person or on paper. It is quicker, more flexible and can be less expensive than court proceedings, and you will still be given a binding decision.
Arbitration cannot be part of the collaborative law process but may be ideal for those who have gone through negotiations or mediation and find there are points that can’t quite be crunched, or who want a complete and quick resolution orchestrated by a third party.
The process has more flexibility than the court process, and the arbitrator will act impartially. It is entirely confidential. You can choose your arbitrator, your venue and how the proceedings will work. The court will uphold an ‘award’ by an arbitrator except in extreme circumstances if the process has somehow been flawed – the arbitrator’s decision is final and binding.
Family law arbitration can be used for resolving disputes about finance, property and child maintenance for married or unmarried former couples. It cannot be used for sorting out child arrangements or the process of divorce/dissolution itself. You can ask the arbitrator to deal with all of the financial issues or alternatively limit his or her involvement to specific aspects.
You can find out a bit more about arbitration on the Resolution website and follow the link to the introductory guide.
Alternatively you can have a look at the information from the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.
Our Creative Divorce family arbitrators: