Your approach to a successful harmonious divorce can involve one or more of the following routes:


This route to divorce puts you in control.

You resolve matters resulting from the breakdown of your relationship without having to go to court. It helps everyone involved reach the fairest solution possible.

Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, there’s no extended and acrimonious communication via solicitors’ letters or having your future decided in court if things don’t work out. You set the agenda and talk about the things that matter most to your family. You can take your time to consider all options as you’re not governed by court time tables.

A collaborative divorce means sitting down in the same room as your ex-partner but with each of you having your own lawyer at your side, helping and advising you on how to resolve your disputes.

You bring in other professionals such as accountants and IFAs to help you reach agreement on specific aspects of your divorce.

Coaches and councillors can attend either for one of you or both of you or so that everyone's voice can be heard.

To make collaborative divorce work both sides need a genuine commitment and desire to succeed. Your lawyers will be committed too. As part of this approach, everyone has to sign an agreement committing to the process.

At Dovetail you will find only lawyers that genuinely believe in the Collaborative process. They are willing to work with you to find the best solution for you.

How can we help?

We can arrange meetings for you with your former partner or spouse and your lawyers for discussions to explore reaching an agreement rather than going to court.

Why do they work?

If all attend with a positive attitude and a willingness to compromise and to achieve what is fair, we can guide and advise about what is achievable legally. This can save you money. It can also help you both to focus on the real issues and avoid unnecessary and often distracting correspondence.

When can we meet?

Meetings can be held at any stage before a final court hearing, even if you have started the court process.

What is agreed?

Financial information must be exchanged or agreed upon, preferably in advance. Once an agreement has been reached, it is recorded , usually in a document called the Heads of Agreement and then converted into a court order as part of the divorce proceedings, or if you have not been married (or entered into a civil partnership) then in a Separation Agreement.

A divorce is then settled by a Court Judge based on the agreed Court Order this avoids expensive Court and Lawyer fees

What will it do?

Mediation can help you resolve the issues surrounding your separation or divorce in a constructive and amicable way, which usually helps you both to move on with your lives in a way that traditional ways of resolving disputes cannot.

It enables you and your former spouse or partner to discuss the issues face to face, with the help of an impartial mediator who will keep the discussions constructive and focused on reaching agreements that work for you and for your children, if you have any.

It’s helpful for couples who want to reach their own solutions to the difficulties they face, as the mediator can help facilitate your discussions to achieve an amicable resolution.

Some of our members are also qualified to offer direct consultation with children, which gives children the opportunity to express their wishes and feelings in the mediation process. It is not about children making decisions, but it allows parents (subject to the agreement of the child) to have a clear and unbiased view of their children's perspective on the family situation. It also helps children to understand how the mediation process works, and it can be beneficial for them to see how their parents are trying to work together amicably.

Mediation is usually a cheaper and quicker process than going through the courts, but we recommend that you each retain separate solicitors to provide legal advice. This is particularly important if financial matters are involved in the mediation.

How does it work?

The process starts with a meeting with the mediator usually on your own. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the process, and for the mediator to assess the suitability of your case for mediation. If after that initial meeting you and your former spouse or partner want to proceed using mediation, arrangements will be made for further meetings, which you will both attend.

Your mediator will manage the discussions between you, making sure that all relevant issues and information are discussed, helping you reach agreements and drawing up proposals on which you both agree.

Is mediation legally binding?

A mediator does not give legal advice, but can guide you within the law and offer solutions that meet your family’s needs. They will encourage you to appoint a solicitor to work alongside you and write up the proposals you agree with your ex into a legal document.

Giving you finality on financial decisions

Family arbitration helps couples who are struggling to reach agreement on financial issues by referring the decision to a neutral, specialist third party (the arbitrator) and agreeing to be bound by the outcome they decide – even if it is a decision with which either person disagrees.

Rather than focusing on helping people to reach agreement, the family arbitrator is there to impose an outcome.

What does an arbitrator decide?

The arbitrator only decides on the issues that the couple agree need to be resolved. They will also decide on the procedures that will be used to settle the issues fairly, avoiding unnecessary delays and expense.

Who attends family arbitration meetings?

People can choose to be represented at family arbitration meetings by a solicitor, barrister or a friend, but this is not compulsory. In some cases, people decide to represent themselves.

How does arbitration differ from the court process?

Unlike a court-imposed timetable, the timing of a family arbitration can be tailored to suit your requirements. And, unlike a court, where different judges may be involved in different parts of the process, the same family arbitrator will (barring the unforeseen) oversee all hearings, which means things can move forward in a more focussed, and therefore more economical, way.

Family arbitration can be reassuring for people who doubt their former partner’s ability to reach a sensible agreement to know that they will exit the arbitration process with a decision, providing finality and enabling them to move forward. It is also a flexible process, which can make it a quicker, cheaper and far less formal than other methods of dispute resolution.

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