ADR Schemes For Family Disputes

Family Law Disputes

Mediation in Family Law matters

Mediation is a private process where parties agree to refer their family dispute to a mediator(s) whose role will be to assist the parties in arriving at a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. Unlike litigation, the resolution of the family dispute is not dependent on a third party imposing a decision on the parties.

The Law Society Mediation Scheme has set up a specialist Family Law arm that allows for the resolution of family law disputes through mediation in a cost-effective and timely manner and provides disputants with an opportunity to resolve their family law disputes without having to resort to or continue with litigation.

Neutral Evaluation in Family Law matters

The aim of the neutral evaluation process is to create stable truces and lasting peace by dealing with family disagreements and disputes that do not reach formal proceedings.

The advantages of the neutral evaluation process under the specialist Family Law arm of the Law Society Neutral Evaluation Scheme are that parties are not permanently saddled with the result and  they have a subsequent chance of asserting their rights through the formal dispute resolution processes.

An evaluation is advisory only and provides the parties with a review of merits of each of their case by an independent third party. Every single stage of the process is limited by time to avoid any unnecessary prolongation of the matter.

For more information on LSMS and LSNES for family law disputes, please refer to the LSMS-LSNES Addendum.

Workflow for Family Law matters

What do these Schemes Cover?

Cases Suitable for Mediation/Neutral Evaluation:

Marital/ Financial Disputes

  • Divorce and reasons for the breakdown of the marriage
  • Nullity and reasons for nullity
  • Maintenance for former wife or husband who has been incapacitated during the marriage
  • Financial provision on divorce/ judicial separation or nullity. Assessment of pool of matrimonial assets. Division of the matrimonial assets.
  • Maintenance for the children of the marriage

Cases Suitable for Mediation Only:

  • Parenting and care arrangements for the children, including access and contact time
  • Where and with whom the children should live
  • Custodial arrangements and major decisions concerning the children's upbringing relating to the children's education, health and/or religion
  • Relocation of children
  • Abduction or wrongful retention of children either for Hague Applications or otherwise

Cases Not Suitable Under the Schemes:

  • Determination of the appropriate forum
  • Domestic violence cases
  • Guardianship matters
  • Contempt of court cases – breach of court orders and obligations including access and care and control orders
  • Bankruptcy or insolvency
  • Status either of individuals or of their relationship
  • Any claim or involvement of third party interests, unless that third party agrees in writing. This also applies to cases where an asset is held jointly with a third party or is alleged to belong beneficially either in whole or part to a third party
  • Child protection proceedings