My husband has asked for a divorce. He sees no point in talking to me and wants a judge to settle our arguments about money and the children. Is there any way I can try to reach an agreement with him without going to court?
Many of our clients are concerned about the idea of going to court to settle their divorce. This is completely understandable. Most people have little experience of the court system so the idea of discussing your personal family circumstances in front of strangers is daunting, not to mention the concerns over additional costs. Added to this there is a degree of legal uncertainty over the extent to which financial details may be publicised.
Despite your husband’s unwillingness to discuss your settlement, you should bear in mind that there is always room for negotiation. It is actually part of the court process.
When you or your husband issues a divorce petition a carefully structured timetable starts. This includes formal exchange of financial information and negotiation on a settlement on financial issues and child residence and contact questions. Remember that solicitors on both sides are one step removed from all of your personal issues. It is their job to work together and encourage discussion. A negotiated agreement has great advantages. Aside from the potential to save the costs of a final hearing, you and your husband have greater control over the final outcome. It is likely that your husband’s own legal advisors will explain to him the benefits of a negotiated settlement in relation to the issues you mention.
What About Mediation?
Formal mediation is also an option but you cannot force your husband to attend a mediation meeting (MIAM). We also find that sometimes mediation can play into the hands of a spouse who ultimately does not want to reach agreement. An obstinate husband or wife may abuse the mediation process, dragging matters out in the hope that you will agree to his or her demands simply to move on.
It is in cases like yours that experienced solicitors are especially valuable. Through careful preparation and a well thought through negotiation strategy, we can put you in the best position to achieve the outcome you are looking for.
Ultimately if your husband refuses to reach an agreement you will have to rely on a judge to make a decision on all the evidence. A specialist family lawyer always knows when to walk away from the table or take a harder line. We will carefully balance the wisdom of spending more on legal fees against the benefit of accepting a meaningful offer. Although there are never any certainties about what a judge may decide on a given day, we have the experience to assess whether or not it is worth proceeding to court.
To advise you further I would need more details about your family assets and what issues you think your husband may raise in relation to arrangements for your children. You can call us on + 44 (0)20 7430 8470.
Read more about divorce here.