When it comes to any kind of legal dispute, most people think this means going to court. While our solicitors are trained litigators, the reality is that litigation is a last resort. No one sets out to go to court. It is expensive, there is no guarantee of a favourable outcome and the impact on relationships can be devastating. In most legal disputes, particularly family law, conventional negotiation is one of the most important tools at our disposal.
Negotiation is a direct discussion of differences between parties involved in a family law dispute, in an effort to resolve these issues. Negotiation may be used to resolve an already existing problem or to lay the groundwork for a future relationship between two or more parties. With a successful negotiation, the parties come to a compromise or reach agreement to avoid argument and dispute.
Negotiations can take place anywhere. There is no set place where they have to take place.
There are many benefits to negotiation in family law matters:
- By negotiating an agreement you do not have to go to court.
- In some circumstances the process can be concluded quickly if the parties are in broad agreement.
- It can keep legal costs down as raising court proceedings can be expensive.
- You are free to accept or reject the outcome of the negotiation and can withdraw at any point during the process. You are not legally bound by it until a minute of agreement has been signed.
- If your relationship with your former spouse or partner did not end on good terms, discussing issues with them can be difficult. With a solicitor representing you in negotiations, you do not have to be in direct contact with your ex to reach agreement.
- As each party’s views are taken into consideration in negotiation, it gives you the opportunity to design an agreement which reflects your interests.
Every negotiation is unique. Each one differs from others over subject matter, the number of participants and the process used, and so can take more or less time. Also, those involved may each have their own interests at heart and want to keep negotiating until they get their way or both parties may have the same interests so it is straightforward and resolved quickly.
At the start, you meet your Family Lawyer and discuss your issues and needs with them. At Thorntons Family Law, we then give you some advice and options to help you decide the best way to progress and take your instructions. We contact the other party or their legal representative by letter and tell them our side of the negotiations. Once we get their response, we let you know its contents and take your instructions. Along the way of the negotiation process we keep you informed, give you expert advice and take your instructions before acting.
When a person has to go and see a Solicitor they automatically assume they will have to go to court but court should always be seen as the last resort where possible. The truth is no one likes going to court and we do everything we can during negotiations to avoid court. However, in some cases court proceedings may be the only option. Before we raised court proceedings in such a case, we would have to take your instructions and establish if going to court is in your best interests and that all the avenues have been exhausted.
Our dedicated Family Law team, including Accredited Specialists in Family Law, are experienced negotiators. They have years of experience in negotiating such matters as financial settlements or contact arrangements. Being objective and using critical analytical skills as well as their legal knowledge, they can focus on the most realistic and best outcome for you.
It can be stressful and emotional to try to tackle a problem by yourself and this can make negotiations difficult. We can represent and advise you through the whole process or advise you of your rights and obligations in relation to any agreement you have decided independently with the other party or parties and draw up the legal agreement for you.
When the issue under dispute is a matter such as contact with a child, it can be very helpful to have a legal representative to handle your negotiations for you, as this means that emotions are not affecting your decision-making during the process.
At Thorntons Family Law, we offer an initial free no-obligation chat over the phone to outline your options and the possible costs.
Depending on your case and circumstances, the next step is to arrange a meeting with one of Family Law Solicitors about your case and to discuss the way forward.
Call us on 03330 430 150 for a chat or contact us to book an appointment.
The cost of the negotiation process will vary depending on the complexity of the issues under negotiation and whether negotiations run smoothly or not.
We are always clear to clients about the potential costs of any option. At the start of your case, we can give you an estimated cost; however, the final fee will depend how much time the Solicitor spends on your case, including meetings, emails and phone calls. Depending on your case and circumstances, you may also need to cover outlays, such as payments to independent experts. We will set out our fees and likely extra costs for you at the start and keep you informed of any possible changes as your case progresses.
Please note we do not offer Legal Aid for this service.