There are currently three alternative options instead of going through the Family Court, which are:
- Collaborative Law – This process allows separating couples to work together with their respective solicitors to find an agreeable solution to the issues that they face during the divorce process. It allows the key aspects of a divorce, including arrangements regarding children and finances, to be discussed at face to face meetings. Each party in the divorce proceedings has the support of their own accredited collaborative law solicitor, with the aim of there been no involvement from the Courts.
- Mediation – Like collaborative law, mediation is an alternative dispute resolution, which aims to resolve the issues arising as a result of separation and divorce without the need for Court proceedings. The fundamental difference is that mediation involves the parties engaging in meetings with a trained mediator, who is impartial and there to assist them in resolving their disputes. The mediator will not give legal advice or favour either party. Each party would have access to legal advice away from the mediation sessions, however, unlike collaborative law, would not have the support of a lawyer in the meetings themselves.
- Arbitration – Another form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration involves a third party (a family arbitrator) making decisions regarding the division of assets and finances during a divorce. The family arbitrator bases his/her decision on the relevant facts and information available to them, in order to make decisions on the allocations of finances. The arbitrator’s ruling is a legally binding decision, known as an “award”.