When separating with your partner or spouse, it is not always possible to resolve matters between yourselves, without assistance – don’t worry and don’t be too hard on yourselves. There’s no need to be nervous either, the alternative is not always Court proceedings. There are numerous options available to separating couples; the trick is to find the one that is best for you.
You could always start by trying mediation. A mediator is independent, will give you all of the information you need, support each of you in discussing whatever you need to sort out and help you to find solutions. You, your former partner and the mediator will have several meetings and when you reach an agreement, the mediator will recommend that you ask your lawyer to advise you further and draw up a document recording that agreement.
Mediation on a “shuttle” basis
If you don’t like the idea of meeting with your former partner face to face, but mediation sounds appealing, it might be worth considering whether you can try mediation on a “shuttle” basis, where the mediator meets with each of you in separate rooms, moving between the two of you throughout your appointment.
If this isn’t working, but you would still like a solution without having to go to court, you could agree to seek advice from a collaboratively trained lawyer or attend arbitration. Arbitration is like a private court hearing at which the arbitrator will make a decision which will usually then become a court order, or legally binding decision. Further information can be found here: http://ifla.org.uk/
If these fail and negotiations through lawyers have not worked either, court proceedings may be issued. Although proceedings are in process, your lawyer may continue to negotiate on your behalf. Most of the time, an agreement will be reached at some point during the process. If not, there will eventually be a final court hearing and a judge will make a final decision, providing the parties with a court order.