Ministry of Justice figures show that 66,357 new cases began in the family courts between April and June 2021, a 14% increase on the same period last year.

The soaring numbers are being put down to couples having delayed making applications during lockdown, who have since picked up where they left off in a bid to resolve divorce, financial or children matters.

Unsurprisingly this is creating greater pressure on the family courts, which in turn is leading to longer waiting times.

Is there an alternative to making an application to the family court?

Yes, alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration can be used instead of court applications and hearings for some families.

They provide a way for separated couples to resolve their differences and reach agreement.

Issues relating to money, property and children can all be dealt with in this way, and this can often be a quicker and more cost-effective way to resolve matters.

There are a number of different options available:

  • Mediation – where a mediator listens to both points of view and suggests practical steps that you could take. You will need a solicitor’s help following mediation to make the agreement legally binding
  • Arbitration – an arbitrator is similar to a judge, as they’ll listen to what you and your ex-partner say and make a decision, which is legally binding.
  • Collaborative law session – collaborative family law involves each party and their solicitors meeting and working together to reach an agreement.

With the family courts being so overstretched at the moment, these alternative forms of dispute resolution are increasingly appealing to couples.

To decide the best way to resolve your family matter, you should first seek advice from an experienced solicitor. Phone 01782 205000 or email enquiry@beswicks.com to book a one-hour appointment for a fixed fee of £100+vat.