Children Arbitration – Using Arbitration for Children Disputes?

July 18, 2016

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Director Gillian Bishop of Family Law in Partnership examines how the new arbitration scheme to resolve issues concerning your children can work in practice.

When your relationship breaks down there can be a disconnect between what you know to be true and what you are feeling. If you have children this disconnect can be exacerbated and the children can get caught in the crossfire. Suddenly the children can be the focus for the dispute between the adults.

There are plenty of resources out there to help parents resolve issues regarding their children following relationship breakdown. Many people are able to reach agreement about the arrangements for their children through mediation, family therapy or attendance at one of our Parenting After Parting sessions.

For other people though the hurt can be so deep, the pain so great that it seems impossible to see the other parent as the person they fell in love with and had children with. Anger and upset blur the vision and impact the ability to put themselves in the position of the children who in most cases want their parents to stop arguing, are inherently fair-minded and want to develop a deep and loving relationship with both their parents.

Sometimes it seems that court is the only way to cut through the gridlock; someone else has to make the decisions, has to find a way through the binary of black and white “I win/you lose” disputes.

Until now that “someone else” has been a judge. From 19th July 2016 there will be another way of having a third party make the decisions for you when there is no other way. This is arbitration and the third party is an arbitrator.

The advantages of an arbitration scheme for children issues are many and below are a few of them:

  1. Speed and convenience – the timetable and location can be fixed more quickly than a court application and at a time convenient to all parties. It is likely that the process will be much quicker and therefore more cost effective than an equivalent court process.
  2. The arbitrations conducted by Family Law in Partnership’s arbitrators will generally be held at FLiP’s offices in Covent Garden but we are willing to travel to other venues more convenient to the parties.
  3. The parties can choose their tribunal. At FLiP our three children law arbitrators have over 80 years of combined experience as family lawyers.
  4. The arbitrations are dealt with in private away from the glare of the media which can be of particular relevance to some people.
  5. The process is flexible and so can deal with discrete issues as well as full cases.

FLiP’s ethos has always been to put our clients and their families at the heart of what we do. It is in keeping with our commitment to helping families going through transition that we see the children issues arbitration scheme as a natural addition to the services we offer. We will carry our values into the way we work as arbitrators enabling us to truly put the interests of families as a whole at the forefront of the decision making process.

Further blogs on this topic will follow but in the meantime if this is something which resonates with you and you would like to know more about children arbitration, please take a look at our arbitration services or contact one of our children law arbitrators Gillian Bishop, James Pirrie and Felicity Shedden. If the matter in dispute relates to financial or property matters and you would like to explore arbitration to settle this dispute, please contact our lawyers qualified in this area – James Pirrie, Felicity Shedden and Bradley Williams.