Resolution’s Family Dispute Resolution Week took place for the first time last week recently. The aim being to spread the word about the benefits of using alternative ways to resolve disputes between separating/divorcing couples rather than litigation through the courts. At this early stage it’s hard to know the impact the campaign has had.
Hopefully this special week will become an established event annually encouraging alternative dispute resolution to be more widely promoted. It was sad to read in the Law Gazette on 27th September 2012 that a Resolution poll revealed that 40% of the 2,018 adults when asked thought that divorce could never happen without conflict – it is clear we have a long way to go to make the public aware that this really doesn’t have to be the case.
Perhaps if people were more aware that Resolution solicitors are in fact committed to resolving cases in a non-confrontational and constructive manner, then separating couples may seek out such support and assistance with an amicable mind from the outset.
It is sadly a fact of life that a large majority of us know someone close to us who has been divorced. It is therefore becoming increasingly important that the public are aware of the positive non-court based options available to them such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration. There are circumstances when alternative dispute resolution wouldn’t be suitable, however hopefully these are a rarity rather than the norm and it is always worth considering all options before ruling anything out.
It can only be hoped that with the new handbook Resolution are shortly to launch educating people about dispute resolution options, as well as judges using their powers at first hearings to adjourn cases where mediation hasn’t been attempted, the public will become increasingly aware of their options. They will not only will assist them in reducing conflict, but will also improve the environment for any children and other family members involved in their lives at this very difficult time.
By family law solicitor and associate, Charlotte Faid