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Family Mediation and Dispute Resolution

At OTS Solicitors, our family law solicitors believe the best way to resolve most family law disputes is outside of the courtroom.  Therefore, we invest heavily in supporting our clients resolve their family law disputes through mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods.

To speak to our top family law solicitors based in the City of London, please contact us on 0203 959 9123, or contact us through our online enquiry form.

For more on how our Family team can help you, visit our dedicated Family Law site.

Our family lawyers in London are headed by Ms. Jordana Adams. Ms. Adams has extensive years’ experience in family law and dispute resolution.  She has advised and represented clients in high-net-worth divorce cases involving complex financial settlements, overseas relocation cases, child arrangement negotiation and mediation, and domestic violence matters.

Ms. Adams and her team are committed to helping couples resolve family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner.  As with all the best divorce lawyers, one of the primary objectives of our service is to help couples avoid ending up in court unless absolutely necessary.

Using alternative dispute resolution methods is now the norm in family law.  In a majority of cases, there is an increasing requirement to try alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve disagreements before applying to the court.

Our family law solicitors invest heavily in keeping up to date on the range of alternative dispute resolution methods available, meaning we can give our clients the best options for their family’s situation based on solid research.  As a team, we are committed to resolving family law disputes as quickly as possible, in a conflict free manner, and putting the needs of children at the centre of any decision-making.

This is in accordance with the Law Society's family law Protocol which provides that: “…unless it is clearly inappropriate to do so, family lawyers must explain alternative methods of resolving disputes outside the court process and advise on the benefits and/or limitations in the client’s specific case plus the role of the solicitor in supporting the non-court dispute resolution process where appropriate. The potential suitability of alternative methods of dispute resolution should be kept under review throughout a case.”

When instructing our family law team at OTS Solicitors, you can have complete trust and confidence that we embody the Law Society's family law Protocol and Resolution’s Code of Practice and are dedicated to getting the best result for you and your family.

Types of alternative dispute resolution in family law

The two main types of alternative resolution methods in family law are:

  • direct negotiation
  • mediation

Direct negotiation

As members of Resolution, Ms. Adams and her team are committed to encouraging and supporting couples reach agreements around financial settlements and arrangements for their children in a peaceful manner.  If there is trust and willingness between the parties, most family disputes can be resolved through direct negotiation.

Round-table negotiations can be a swift method of reaching agreements between parties in a family law dispute.  They also result in less lengthy paperwork between solicitors, thus reducing the cost of legal advice.

If you and your partner agree to resolve your issues through round-table negotiation, our family lawyers in London will provide you with full support, helping you achieve your objectives in a non-confrontational manner.

Mediation

For some couples, having an impartial third-party help them work through a dispute provides the platform they need to reach a resolution quickly and amicably.

The conventional family law model of mediation is where a mediator sees clients individually for an intake session (30 minutes) and thereafter sees them jointly.  As family law solicitors, we are usually not present in the room, rather we provide advice outside of the mediation process.

An average mediation will involve three to five mediation sessions each lasting one and a half hours.

The advantages of family mediation are numerous:

  • the mediation process is voluntary, meaning couples who agree to attend are usually invested in achieving a workable solution
  • mediation is confidential—the parties are free to discuss their positions openly knowing that the mediator will not report their discussions to the court if the mediation breaks down
  • the mediator will often prepare a schedule of assets and some options together with net-effect schedules to go through with the parties during the mediation—the parties will then see which option is likely to be the most appropriate for them and discuss its terms to try and reach a mutual settlement
  • mediation allows the couple to be in control of the process and reach a resolution between themselves with the help of a third-party, which in turn makes the decisions they make more likely to remain in place long-term.

Mediation is not suitable for everyone.  For example, if there is a history of domestic violence or abuse in the relationship, it is unlikely that the mediation process would be an advisable dispute resolution method.

Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM)

If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on a particular family law matter such as how to divide their finances, there may be no option than to seek a court order.  In most cases, it is compulsory for a couple to attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to find out how mediation works and whether it is an appropriate method to resolve the dispute.

If the matter being disputed requires an urgent decision or there has been violence or abuse in your relationship, you may be exempt from having to attend a MIAM conference.

Our family law solicitors, based in central London, can assist you with resolving your family law disputes outside of the courtroom in a calm, respectful, confidential manner.

For a more detailed discussion regarding alternative dispute resolution methods, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123.

Your Questions and our answers about Family Mediation and Dispute Resolution

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.

In the meantime, you can also call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

Thank you for your enquiry. It would be better if your son enquires about a DNA test but he would have to seek permission from the court to do so because he has unfortunately not been named as the birth father on the birth certificate. Hence he has no parental responsibility (PR) over the child but may apply to the courts for permission to seek PR. We will be more than happy to assist and talk you through the law and procedure – please call us on 0203 959 9123 for a quick chat or to arrange a consultation.
Thank you for your enquiry.
I totally empathise with you and your predicament but I’m afraid that it will be very difficult to get any money backdated and the chances are very slim as your children are all grown up now.
I would advise that you seek assistance outside the Family courts or perhaps get in touch with Child Maintenance Service to see if there is anything they can do to help you with.
Thank you for your enquiry.
Please may I suggest we have a quick chat over the phone as there are quite a few complexities in your query but I would advise you not to agree to anything until we speak or until you get proper advice.
Rest assured he cannot unilaterally dictate what “custody” you should have or, how much or little contact you are entitled to.
Please do get in touch when it is convenient to talk or let me know when it is a good time to call. You can reach us on 0203 959 9123.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

The first thing we would need to ascertain is whether there are any court orders in place, e.g. child arrangements order that the granddaughter lives with you, and whether you have acquired parental responsibility.. As the grandparent, there are a few options for your granddaughter to remain living with you, for example, applying for a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order (as the granddaughter had been living with you for nearly 4 years, you would not require permission of the court to apply for either). There is a difference between the two orders and we would need detailed instructions in respect of all the facts in order to advise you appropriately.

To discuss this in more detail over an appointment, please call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.

In the meantime, you can also call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

Thank you for getting in touch with us.
Your enquiry is being reviewed by our team and one of our solicitors will contact you shortly.

Dear Katie,

We are sorry to hear that the Father of your children has failed to return the children to you after contact since May. We can definitely assist you and can help you make an application to the family court to get your children back. However you will need to act sooner rather than later as the children have been in the father’s care for a few months now. Please get in touch for advice and immediate assistance in your matter.

You can call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties with seeing your grandchildren. You do not mention if your daughter and son in law are agreeable to your keeping in contact with your grandchildren through facetime, phone calls and sending presents. If they are agreeable to this type of contact then we would recommend that you keep it up until you can see your grandchildren as it will be easier to get a court order if you are maintaining an ongoing relationship with your grandchildren.
If you are not able to talk things through with your daughter and new son in law to find out the reasons why they are not letting you see your grandchildren, you could try writing to them or you could suggest family mediation. You may think that family mediation is just for couples but a family mediator can help families resolve all sorts of issues including contact with grandparents. The family mediator is impartial and whilst they cannot give you legal advice, they will focus on the two children and their needs.
If you are not able to resolve matters by direct discussions, letter or mediation, then as a last resort court proceeding could be started. The court has the power to make an order to enable you to see your grandchildren. If you were to make a court application the court would make its decision based on what it thought would be in your grandchildren’s best interests. Normally a court thinks that children should have a relationship with their grandparents. As you were close to the grandchildren but have now not seen them for nearly 12 months, we would suggest that you do pursue seeing the grandchildren as leaving it for too long might make it more difficult to secure an order.
To discuss your situation and your options we would need to see you. We can give you expert children law advice and advise you on the best way forward. Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.
The family law team at OTS Solicitors
We are sorry to hear about your separation.
A mediation information and assessment meeting is a meeting between you and a family mediator to give you information about how family mediation works and to see if you would be suitable to go to family mediation. Normally the information and assessment meeting is an individual meeting with you alone, but you could double check that your wife will not be at the meeting if you are concerned about it.
If you decide to go ahead with mediation, your wife would attend the mediation sessions that would be led by an independent and impartial family mediator. The mediator’s job is to help you reach an agreement. For example, in mediation you could decide whether you are going to get divorced and, if so, who should start the divorce proceedings or you could agree the split of your assets or parenting arrangements.
Mediators are not able to give legal advice and therefore most do recommend that you get legal advice on your family law rights. Taking expert advice means you are
more likely to be comfortable in attending mediation sessions, as you will know where you stand legally.
If you do not go to the mediation meeting, your wife could get a family solicitor to write to you or she could start court proceedings. The first step is for you to take some legal advice on your rights and options.
To discuss your situation and your options we would need to see you. We can give you expert divorce, financial and children law advice and advise you on the best way forward. Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.
Thank you for your enquiry.
If you are paying your former wife spousal maintenance, then the spousal maintenance payments should stop when she remarries.
You mention that you are paying child support but do not say if that is on a voluntary basis, after a child maintenance service assessment or under a family court order. You should not change the child support payments without first taking legal advice.
The amount you pay in child support should not be effected by your former wife’s remarriage and her husband’s financial circumstances. However, a family solicitor can advise you on whether you are paying the correct amount of child support based on your current income and other factors. If the child support is being paid under a child maintenance service assessment or court order, a variation application could be made.
You do need family law advice on your child support payments. We would therefore ask you to call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you. Please call us.
family law team OTS Solicitors
I am sorry to hear about your situation. Your ex-partner cannot take the children back to Poland with her, if the children are habitually resident in England, without either your agreement or a UK family court order.
If the children are in school in the UK, the likelihood is that the children are habitually resident in the UK. That means if you and your ex-partner cannot agree on what is best for your children, a judge in the UK has the jurisdiction to decide.
We would need more information from you to give advice on your children’s habitual residence. If you fear that your former partner may just take the children to Poland, without your agreement or court order, you could urgently apply for a prohibited steps order to stop her from doing so.
If your ex-partner takes legal advice she will probably be told about the need to apply to court for permission to take the children abroad to live. You could oppose the application on the basis that a move to Poland is not in the children’s best interests. However, if you fear that your ex-partner will either not take advice or just flee with the children, we would urge you to speak to us quickly to see how we can help you .
Please call us as quickly as you can on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you.
Jordana Adams, Family Solicitor

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