Understandably, when people think of divorce they often associate this with going to Court. In reality, however, there are alternatives able for divorcing couples. Court proceedings can stressful for all involved and may not be the most appropriate process for your case.

What are the alternatives to Court?


Trained mediators assist you and your spouse to explore possibilities for resolving your disputes and come to a legally binding agreement. These meetings take place both separately and alongside your ex-partner, without solicitors present. It is important to remember that mediation is a voluntary process - both parties must be willing to engage constructively with it.

Who is a mediator?

A trained mediator is a qualified independent person who will not take sides nor will they try and counsel you and your ex to get back together! A mediator will not tell you what to do but instead, assists you and your the other parent to discuss matters and hopefully come to an agreement. It is recommended that you take legal advice, alongside mediation to assist and advise you through the process of separation.

Is mediation for everyone?

Please be aware - not all cases are suitable for mediation. This is particularly the case if there has been violence in the relationship or there are welfare concerns. At the outset, a mediator will assess whether or not your circumstances are suitable for mediation. A Mediation and Information Assessment Meeting MIAM - will help the mediator determine whether or not mediation is suitable for you.

What happens once an agreement is reached through mediation?

  • A document will be prepared by the mediator which summarises the proposals. You will then be advised by the mediator to seek legal advice regarding this document before formalising the agreement.
  • If and when you are happy with the agreement this will be formalised into a Memorandum of Understanding, a formal legally binding agreement.
  • It can be cost effective for both parties
  • The decision reached at the end is yours, not that of a Judge or another third party.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is similar to mediation as it is a non-confrontational way of solving disputes however, it is different in that you have your solicitor by your side throughout the whole process without any third party present.

Collaborative law gives you the constant support of your solicitor who ensures that your priorities are effectively met throughout the negotiations.

Benefits of the Collaborative Law Process:

• You decide the pace and agenda of the discussions

• You have your Solicitor by your side throughout the whole process of negotiations

• All parties are under a duty to provide full and honest disclosure so that couples are working with the facts

• Parties are placed under a signed agreement to instruct other solicitors should proceedings fail and require the involvement of the courts (this is a real incentive for both sides to stick with the discussions until they reach a mutual solution)

At Ramsdens, we are accredited members of Resolution and expert family law specialists. If you wish to discuss your divorce please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly family law team to arrange a free 30 minute consultation at any of our offices across West Yorkshire. Call us free on 08000 147720 to make your appointment today.