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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Solicitors and the courts

Getting proper legal advice is always a good idea if you are getting divorced. But you may be able to settle many disputes through family mediation.

Contact and residence

When parents are separating, divorcing or applying to end a civil partnership, a decision needs to be made on arrangements for the children. If the parents can’t agree on arrangements for their children (like where the children will live), then they can apply to the family courts.

The courts will make a decision and issue a Contact or Residence Order that will decide visiting rights and where the children will live.

Court proceedings can be long, expensive and very stressful for the whole family. Instead of going through this process, many parents find a better option is to use family mediation. Family mediation is a way of solving disagreements after your relationship has broken down, without involving lawyers or the courts.

In mediation, family members explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a mediator. The mediator helps them to reach an agreement without taking sides.


You can ask a solicitor to negotiate with your partner for you, either directly or through your partner's solicitor. Your solicitor may still suggest that you try mediation to settle a particular issue between you.

The internet and your local telephone book will have a list of solicitors you could approach.


You can also apply to the court to settle your dispute for you. However, the court will also encourage you to reach agreement between yourselves if at all possible. If you have not already done so, the court may suggest that you try mediation.

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