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Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, courts are increasingly leaning toward holding hearings remotely, cutting their personnel or completely closing down, law practitioners are seeking ways to resolve family law disputes with minimal delays. And ADR may well be the alternative to traditional litigation they’re looking for.

Mediation

There’s many advantages to resolving family law disputes through mediation. First of all, it enables parties to avoid the high costs & stress associated with traditional litigation. It also provides them with an opportunity to fully express their viewpoint through a mediator. Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic & dire economic consequences it’s causing, mediation may prove to be a viable alternative to traditional litigation. 

Because mediators can arrange meetings by way of video conferencing, there’s no need for parties to visit each other’s offices. Providing they both agree to it, parties can find a mediator who’s competent enough in family law matters & who’ll be able to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.

The family law grievance process usually involves a separate meeting with a mediator. It’s followed by joint meetings whose main point is to help parties resolve family law disputes through mediation. Mediators must be impartial & avoid providing advice (including legal) at all times.

Once parties have reached an agreement, a mediator draws up an MOU. Each party can then seek advice regarding the outcome of the mediation so that binding orders can be drawn up.

FDR

To resolve financial disputes with the help of an adjudicator, parties can resort to FDR. Adjudicators are forbidden to force their decisions on parties; however, they can listen to their arguments & examine evidence presented by them. Private FDR implies hiring an officer serving in the capacity of a “judge”.

This individual can be solicitors, barristers or non-practicing adjudicators. Parties are at liberty to decide whether they’ll share FDR-related costs or whether one of them will cover the costs.

It’s up to parties when private FDR can take place; it can even be held without a trial or used instead of a litigatigatin FDR. Hearings during which resolution of disputes via a private FDR is sought are normally held in an office owned by an attorney. It must have rooms in which parties can confer with their lawyers.

The advantages of a private FDR are numerous. Parties get to select a private judge who’s fully aware of the details of a particular case. Because they’re under no time restrictions, they’ll get to have ample time for preparing & studying documents. What makes a private FDR disadvantageous is a high fee of an adjudicator & their lack of authority to render a decision if a dispute isn’t settled.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a process whereby parties jointly appoint an arbitrator & choose a venue & language of arbitration. Normally, arbitrators are chosen from amongst family lawyers, barristers or non-practicing adjudicators. It’s possible to tailor the process parties’ needs; decisions taken by arbitrators are binding & require approval in court.

Family law dispute resolution through arbitration is faster than litigation & takes place privately. Similarly to private FDR, both parties get to select a competent arbitrator capable of studying their documents & understanding the nature of a case.

Arbitration is different from litigation in this that parties must pay arbitrators & agree among themselves on procedure. Though it’s binding for both parties, an arbitration agreement must be approved by court.

FDR through arbitration amid the coronavirus pandemic has become a particularly popular method of resolving claims under family law. Arbitration can be a viable alternative to traditional hearings when courts simply don't have the resources to deal with a particular case.

Planning to resolve a financial dispute through ADR? Why not IQ Decision UK?