About 45% of marriages end in divorce these days with one in three children experiencing parental separation before they are 16.

Not surprisingly the breakdown of a relationship can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of all those involved.  This is not necessarily limited to the couple and their children but can extend across their wider network of family and friends.  Concentration and performance at work and school is often adversely affected too with approximately 10 million working days lost each year through stress and depression.

Until a few years ago, the options for separated couples were limited and often increased,  rather than minimised,  animosity.  If matters could not be resolved between the parties Solicitors, the only other option was court.

Now there are a variety of routes available and Resolution, the national organisation for family lawyers, is promoting these alternatives in National Family Dispute Resolution Week from the 25th November.  Lots of information can be found on Twitter at #keepitoutofcourt as well as on their website www.resolution.org.uk.

In Newcastle the Local Resolution Lawyers are hosting an event at the Assembly Rooms on Tuesday 26th November at 5 pm for a 5.30 start.  There will be a series of short presentations followed by drinks and nibbles and an opportunity to network with professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Elizabeth Gallagher for more information at elizabethgallagher@samuellphillips.co.uk.

The event will cover mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.

So what are they?

In a nutshell, mediators are trained to help resolve disputes over all issues faced by separating couples,  or help with a specific point, for example a dispute about children. The Mediator meets with the parties to try and reach an agreement.

In Arbitration the parties are to appoint a trained arbitrator who will make a final and binding decision on a particular issue. This can be on any financial or property dispute.

The collaborative process involves the parties appointing their own collaboratively trained lawyers.  The parties and the lawyers then meet face to face to try and resolve matters.  Because each party has their own lawyer, they get support and legal advice throughout the process.  The key difference with the collaborative process is the parties and their lawyers sign an agreement at the outset, committing them to try and resolve matters without going to court.  If the collaborative process breaks down, both parties need to find new lawyers.  This means everyone does their best to find a solution and keep it out of court.

Beecham Peacock Solicitors are experienced Collaborative Law Solicitors in Newcastle. For more information on any of these options, please contact any member of our family team.

Fiona Ryans


Beecham Peacock

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