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Farnfields Mediation News

Should I take my family dispute to arbitration?

The current Covid-19 situation across the UK is making it difficult for some child arrangements orders to be put into effect, specifically where the child is to spend time with the other parent in another household. The parent with whom the child is ordinarily resident may have concerns about the transmission of the virus and decide that the child should not visit the other parent.

There is nothing stopping the continued operation of child arrangement orders, and they can continue on as normal with the child moving between households. Ideally, both parties should agree to any temporary change to any arrangements, and resume using the normal order at the end of the crisis. If a parent unilaterally decides not to allow any visits, court guidance has suggested that this decision may be tested after the event and a judge will decide whether the parent who stopped the visits acted reasonably in all the circumstances.

Arbitration
Court time is scarce now and will be scarce for some time to come as a backlog of cases builds up, meaning that hearings to determine contact with children in dispute will take a long time before they come before the courts. Arbitration is a process where a qualified arbitrator will consider the issues in dispute and quite quickly come to a decision based on the facts in the case. This can be a better process where there are limited issues between two parties including where the child will live, contact and upbringing arrangements.

Is it legally binding?

The resulting decision made by the arbitrator is legally binding in the same way as a court-ordered decision but needs to be submitted to a court and be approved by a judge before it has the same force as an order. It is unusual for arbitrated decisions not to be upheld by a judge.

Benefits of arbitration
Arbitration in the current circumstances will be quicker, and cheaper than listing the dispute for a court hearing. Provided both parties agree to use arbitration to solve their disagreement, it is an effective and timely solution to simple disputes.

How to start the process
Speak to one of the Farnfields’ family team on 01747 825432 who will advise you on the suitability of your dispute for arbitration, the possible costs and the timeframe, and arrange and set up the arbitration if it is appropriate / agreed by both parties. Arbitration can often be suitable for remote technology such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype rather than gathering in a central location.

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Parenting

Do I need a Child Arrangements Order?

An unfortunate side effect of relationship breakdown can often be a continued dispute over the child or children of the relationship and with whom they should spend time and when / for how long. Many couples can resolve these differences without reverting to the courts, but sometimes they have to get involved. Also, what if a grandparent feels that they too should see their grandchild but are prevented from doing so? If any dispute about arrangements for contact with children cannot be resolved without the intervention of the court, the plans for the children are set out in child arrangements orders.

Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order

Anyone with Parental Responsibility may apply for an order, as may a legal guardian. The court may make an order itself during any other family proceedings if it thinks one is necessary, and relatives without parental responsibility may also apply to the court for an order. Our team of experienced solicitors will guide you through every step of the way ensuring that you understand the process. An order may specify who the child lives with and what contact arrangements there are to be with for example the other parent.

This is just one small area of law where Farnfields’ Family Team can help you to navigate your way through the complex procedures and rules that govern this area of law. Contact us on (01747) 825432 or via our parent website www.farnfields.com to discuss your needs and find out how we could help you.

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Enquire Today

Contact us and speak to one of our friendly experts.

Referral Form

Complete our referral form online or download a PDF copy.