Everything we do is for you
One of the many qualities that makes us different to other law firms is our approach. We’re flexible, supportive, and friendly. From start to finish, our full focus is on achieving the very best outcomes for our clients and their families.
Here are some of the ways in which we can work with you:
Initial Fixed Fee Interview
The Initial Fixed Fee Interview usually lasts for approximately an hour or so and is a discovery session that allows us to find out more about you. At the meeting we give you an indication of the legal position, and work out the best way for you to move things forward. These are one-off meetings with no obligation to go any further. We get positive feedback from these meetings – people are relieved to have some peace of mind.
Advice in the Background
‘Advice in the background’ means you only meet with one of our solicitors as and when you need them, which means you can keep your costs low because you’re handling most of the work yourself. For example, you’ll write and send the emails to your ex or their solicitor, but we’ll give you a steer about what to include, and what to ask for in terms of a settlement. This can be much cheaper than the traditional approach of paying a solicitor to do all the work, but it is by no means right for everybody and there are risks with ‘cutting corners’. We will consider this with you carefully to make sure it#s the right option.
Round Table Meetings
Round table meetings mean you, your ex, and your lawyers, sit down together to attempt to resolve your differences. We can also involve other people – for example a pension expert, an accountant, or a child specialist. Face-to-face meetings can be a much more effective way to resolve matters, because it avoids the delays and frustrations of sending emails back and forth. If you are uncomfortable seeing your ex-partner, you can be in separate rooms.
Sometimes an agreement is reached after one meeting. Sometimes, it takes two meetings or more. We are big fans of face-to-face communication so we encourage round table meetings whenever we can.
Arbitration & Private Financial Dispute Resolution (‘FDR’) hearings
There are many problems with the court system. It is expensive, slow and the courts are overwhelmed with work. Hearings are often cancelled at short notice, and judges have too many cases to deal with. For that reason, arbitration or Private FDRs can be much better options.
Arbitration means you and your ex jointly instruct and pay for a senior lawyer to act as an independent arbitrator. They apply the same laws and rules as the court, but the process can be streamlined and tailored to your needs. The case can be dealt with as quickly as you want, and we get to choose the right arbitrator for your type of case. The decision of the arbitrator is intended to be legally binding. Arbitration is well suited to cases dealing with finances and/or children.
Private FDRs are similar, but they work while the court process is still running in the background. If you apply to court for a financial settlement, the court arranges a hearing called an FDR. A Private FDR means you and your ex jointly appoint a specially trained senior lawyer to act as a judge and the FDR hearing takes place away from the court. The intention is to help you and your ex agree the terms of a settlement.
The recommendation of the judge at a Private FDR is not legally binding and if either of you feel the outcome of the FDR is wrong or unfair you can continue with the court process.
In our experience, clients prefer arbitrations and Private FDRs because they are a more relaxed, civilised, and grown-up way of resolving matters. Also, even though there are extra costs with arbitration and Private FDRs – because you have to pay for the ‘judge’ – it can still prove cheaper because the process can be tailored to your specific case and doesn’t have to comply with the standard rules that apply in court. You also have control over the where and when the hearing takes place.
Collaborative Family Law
Our skilled team of family law solicitors are also fully trained collaborative lawyers who can help you reach an agreement without going to court. Which is what collaborative law means. It’s a different approach to resolving family disputes.
Collaborative law is designed to make the process of divorce as calm and dignified as possible by preventing or limiting the damage that traditional litigation can often cause. It’s sometimes referred to as the best way to achieve a ‘good divorce’.
Almost all the work is carried out in meetings between you, us, your partner, and their lawyer. To ensure that everyone remains at the negotiating table, all four participants must sign an agreement promising to resolve matters in an open, honest, and constructive manner, without issuing court proceedings. The individual lawyers then take a proactive role in suggesting solutions which might benefit you both.
Collaborative law empowers you to reach a settlement that is satisfactory to you rather than imposed on you by the courts or anyone else. We focus on exploring your specific circumstances, priorities, and goals, to provide a solution that works for you. If necessary, we also work with other experts such as accountants, financial advisors, or surveyors to save you time and money by avoiding the duplication that happens when you each take separate advice.
There are certain provisos to bear in mind for the collaborative law process to be successful. The main one is that there must be a healthy degree of trust and openness on both sides. That’s why collaborative law will not be suitable for everyone. Also, if the collaborative process fails, you will both need to instruct new lawyers and enter the traditional legal process. This is often enough incentive for couples to make the collaborative process work. If you and your partner are determined to resolve matters with dignity, collaborative law could very well be suitable for you.
There are many ways of different ways of working with us, but whichever you choose, you’ll find us approachable, proactive and results driven. For an initial chat, why not talk to Peter Baughan today.