February 2015

Pathways to Justice for separating families

A major new report into different forms of dispute resolution has reinforced how important it is for separating couples to choose the right way of sorting things out.

The “Mapping Paths to Family Justice” report follows three years’ research by the Universities of Exeter and Kent into awareness, usage, experience and outcomes of different ‘out of court’ family dispute resolution processes.

Anne Dick, a partner with Family Law Matters and member of Consensus Collaboration Scotland, said: “Separation is rarely an easy journey. The Scottish Government is now implementing reforms of the court system which will have unpredictable consequences for family law, but very few people who separate in Scotland need to have things sorted out in court. Most people make arrangements by negotiation.

This new research underlines how necessary it is for people to be aware of all the choices open to them. In addition to litigation through the court system, there are four more ways of navigating through a separation: mediation, collaborative practice, solicitor negotiations, and arbitration.

They each have their place. One size does not fit all. The crucial thing is to identify which suits the couple best, which will depend largely on the disposition of those involved.”

Collaborative practice, which allows the legal, psychological and financial aspects to be integrated into one co-operative process, was noted in the research to provide:

  • The opportunity to resolve matters amicably but with support;
  • Discussion in person, not by correspondence;
  • A high level of satisfaction with the process and the outcome.

Anne added: “Joined up support proves beneficial for separating couples. It’s one of the reasons why more and more couples are choosing the collaborative route, which can provide a better divorce for a happier future. We would encourage anyone considering separation to evaluate all their options. A Consensus Collaboration Scotland member will be able to advise on the suitability of the different options”.

For further information: Anne Dick 0141 420 2430

The Mapping Paths to Family Justice report by the Universities of Exeter and Kent is available at: http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk

Get in touch to find out how to separate and divorce without confrontation.

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