Bishop & Sewell

“When I won the Golf Challenge in South Africa, I asked my wife if she’d like a designer dress or diamonds as a present?” But she said, ‘No, I want a divorce.’

“I said, ‘I wasn’t planning on spending that much,” so Sir Nick Faldo once famously once said in an interview.

Does a divorce have to be acrimonious? Viciously fought and end up in court?


The options for separating couples and parents have grown in recent decades with methods such as mediation and collaboration gaining traction.

Mediation offers benefits which are not constrained in the same way as the Family Court, and can still arrive at an outcome acceptable to both parties.

Mediation differs with the court process where is no guarantee the same judge will hear all elements of a case. A mediated process delivers the same person, selected jointly, and the cost of that appointment can be agreed.

Mediation offers versatility. Parties can agree to mediate on issues which whilst important a court would not need to hear, such as which school to send a child to.

Where parties cannot reach agreement in direct discussions despite a foundation of goodwill between them, then mediation is still a better option in many cases than going to court.

During the mediation process the parties can agree to obtain the views of a child and appoint experts to provide input. It also has the advantage of being conducted in private and not in a public court, thereby reducing the risk of publicity.

Confidentiality is at the heart of the process

You should suggest a mediator who is also an experienced family solicitor and it is important to note that there are many mediators who are not qualified solicitors. You should ask your own family solicitor for recommendations for possible mediators, as they will usually know experienced mediators who have achieved good outcomes for couples.

The mediator then manages the process and facilitates discussions between the parties ensuring that these are kept calm and constructive. Each party should still take their own advice from their solicitor so that they are able to negotiate from a position of knowledge and understanding of what a court would be likely to do, if their negotiations are not successful.

Even if the participants are not able to find common ground on  every aspect of their case, mediation can still be very helpful in limiting the many issues that would otherwise have to be heard by a judge to reach a conclusion.

Our Family lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times and have rankings in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for their expertise.

If you need some advice and support, please get in touch via or call us direct on +44(0)20 7091 2869. We are here for you.

The above is accurate as at 10 February 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.

David Little

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