Removing the fear from divorce: The benefits of family arbitration

Written by Joanna Ralphs - 14.09.20

Arbitration is a word which usually has negative connotations, and not something you might expect to hear in relation to family arrangements. But arbitration is an excellent form of dispute resolution when you want to settle matters out of court. It has a number of benefits which we’ll discuss below.

But first, what is family arbitration?

Simply put, arbitration is a more flexible version of the court proceedings that happen when you litigate. You’ll appoint an arbitrator, who is usually a solicitor or barrister, to listen to each person’s case and then give an impartial judgement based on the information you give. This award will be made legally binding on both sides.

There are two types of family arbitration, which are looked after by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) and other major governing bodies. These are the financial scheme, under which you can resolve finance and property issues, and the children scheme, which can be used to determine or vary child maintenance, contact arrangements, holiday contact, education or even non-life-threatening medical treatment.

Should I choose to arbitrate? What are the benefits?

There are a few situations where arbitration may not serve your best interests. Our team has a deep understanding of family law, and so can advise on the best course of action, as well as guiding you through your next steps.

Arbitration may be right for you if you’d like to avoid a lengthy dispute. Protracted legal proceedings can take their toll on you and any family members involved. You retain the benefit of an impartial judgement – you won’t have to rely on your ex-partner to agree with you – and you can relax knowing a resolution will always be found.

If you’re very busy, arbitration offers great flexibility and versatility – you’ll have input into meeting times and location, and can even conduct some of the process via letter, if that suits you. Press are not allowed to attend your hearings. The process is completely private and is not associated with the formality and expense of litigation.

Lastly, you’ll be able to retain a lawyer throughout the arbitration to advise and support your case. While the arbitrator is impartial, your Laurus lawyer will be on your side, ensuring your interests are protected.

If you're considering arbitration, or would like to find out more about your options, feel free to get in touch with our Family Law Team on 020 3146 6300, or hello@lauruslaw.co.uk for friendly, professional and strictly confidential advice.