Alternative Dispute

The less stressful way to settle a dispute

Alternative dispute resolution

But, what is it?

Alternative Dispute Resolution, often referred to as ADR, is a method by which a family dispute is resolved away from the courts. You may imagine divorce proceedings taking many months, but this doesn’t need to be the case using a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Methods include:

• Collaborative Practice
• Represented Mediation
• Arbitration
• Private FDR’s

Is alternative dispute
resolution right for me?

At Goughs, going to Court for a settlement is always the last resort. We subscribe to Resolution’s Code of Practice which obliges us to resolve issues constructively. There are several methods we can employ to keep your case away from the acrimony and costs often associated with court proceedings.

If this sounds like the sort of divorce you are looking for, continue reading for more detailed information on how we can support and guide you through this difficult time. 

Don't waste time and money

Your local family lawyer since 1882

Everything you need to know about ADR

ADR has many advantages for those who would prefer to keep their arguments informal and out of court. 

  • ADR offers a solution to many of the negatives of the traditional litigation processes, which are often criticised for being costly, stressful and creating lasting conflict between those involved.
  • ADR is more efficient and economical than the alternative.
  • As ADR focuses on finding mutually beneficial solutions for both parties, it is especially well-suited to those who wish to maintain a constructive future relationship with the person they are in dispute with, which is of key importance where children are involved.
  • Lastly, ADR can be more affordable for individuals who do not wish to be faced with the sizeable legal fees associated with a contested court case. 

Collaborative Practice

Ideal for couples wanting to prioritise the interests of the whole family. This process involves a formal commitment to resolve issues respectfully and not to go to court if challenges arise.

For more detailed information, click here, to head to our Collaborative Practice page

Represented Mediation

This option involves the parties mediating with their lawyers present, knowing that the agreed mediator (an expert neutral lawyer), has thoroughly mastered all the issues in the case by reading professionally prepared documentation in advance.

A full day is usually made available, with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of it. The mediator facilitates discussions, if necessary challenges the parties, and steers a path through any obstacles that may arise. The lawyers guide their clients, advise on the law, and ensure a fair outcome.


The separating couple accept that the outcome will be decided by a third party arbitrator. Closer in format and effect to a court hearing, this method requires both parties to agree to be legally bound by the decision of a jointly appointed expert arbitrator after a meeting.

The legally-represented parties choose their date, venue and arbitrator; and avoid the delays and lack of judge-time and are exempt from having to follow the formal court rules. This has benefits in terms of time and cost, especially as lengthy court proceedings often throw up complications and disputes which incur additional legal fees.

Private FDR’s

‘FDR’ stands for Financial Dispute Resolution – a hearing which is required as part of Financial Remedy Proceeding. The idea is that the parties, their lawyers, and the judge collectively settle the case. It’s a great idea in principle, because the judge is supposed to give an informal indication about outcomes which the court would consider appropriate, based on the evidence available. If it’s done well, an FDR can be an effective aid to settlement. 

A private FDR involves the parties and their lawyers selecting an independent, experienced family lawyer – usually an expert barrister – to conduct a private hearing, with the barrister sitting in the role of the judge. 

The main advantage is that a private FDR can be arranged quickly, rather than waiting many months for a court hearing.

As discussed above, many of the routes ADR can take do save costs in the long run. Most methods of ADR do, however, require both parties to be open to discussion and compromise for it to work effectively. 

Digmore Sid

Excellent service

I engaged the services of Goughs Solicitors in Trowbridge, in particular Ailie Peacock, to act on my behalf for the sale of my house. Ailie was always clear with her advice, acted in a timely manor and answered any questions I had almost immediately. She was very proactive in dealing with the other parties involved in a slightly convoluted chain.

Ailie also managed a very late request from our buyers with calm efficiency and the utmost professionalism. The end result was a smooth sale and completion, with remarkably little stress on our part. I would not hesitate from using them again.


Margaret Wilson

Clear concise advice

Quick response to e-mails or phone calls. Will certainly use again in the near future. Clear concise advice patiently given!


Mr Ian Liddle

Excellent service

Excellent service as usual.



Superb once again.

Superb once again. Goughs provides outstanding service... professional in getting the job done and conducted with grace and care. Thank you Goughs!


Ashley Stone

Rhianna Cole

The solicitor I dealt with at Goughs, Rhianna Cole, was an absolute star, I cannot fault her in any way at all. She made everything in the situation I was in so easy to understand, and she guided me through an extremely stressful time, with extreme professionalism, yet a very personal and sensitive touch. Can't big them up enough.



Matt Saunders

Made first-time buying a (relatively) simple process!

Sophie was very attentive and responsive and understood the need to act quickly in regard to our purchase process. She was diligent with the paperwork and was very easy to talk to and clear at explaining what was required in terms of action from our side and from the seller.



Chambers & Partners

Chambers and Partners produces international rankings for the legal industry

Adept at handling complex divorce proceedings and related financial disputes. Regularly assists with challenging private law children cases. Offers further experience in negotiating pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements.


Legal 500

The Legal 500 is a research, ranking and publishing firm based in the UK

Goughs is a strong team that has strength and depth in its family law department. They are known for achieving good client outcomes and their good client care.


Russell Fitch

Great service

Great service, professional, great communication and handled what was a very sensitive situation with care and compassion.



Very calm and clear

My lawyer was very calm and clear and she put me at ease during a very stressful time. The outcome was exactly as I'd hoped.



Highly satisfactory

Thank you for all your help, guidance and understanding over the last 2 years. You and your team have been outstanding during a very difficult time and managed the case through to a highly satisfactory conclusion.


The Goughs approach to divorce

Mistakes people make when divorcing
Mistakes people make when divorcing
The Goughs approach to separation and divorce
The Goughs approach to separation and divorce
Common misconceptions in divorce
Common misconceptions in divorce

FREE 30 minute consultation with a family lawyer

We offer a free 30 minute no obligation consultation providing you direct access with one of our professional Family Law specialists.

Why work
with Goughs?

Local since 1882, with an excellent reputation

First-class, effective service

Largest solicitors in Wiltshire

Seven offices throughout the county

Nationally accredited law firm

Recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners

Your alternative dispute resolution team

Matthew Drew

Managing Partner & Finance Partner

As an experienced lawyer in the Family Department, Matthew specialises in complex, high-value financial cases following on from divorce and separation. Matthew also has a great deal of experience in private law Children Act cases.

Thomas Boyce

Head of Family
Head of Farming & Rural Land

Thomas joined Goughs in April 2015, was made a Partner in 2016, and is Head of the Family department. He is an experienced family law specialist and advises a wide range of clients, both married and unmarried, on the implications of relationship breakdown.

Related Pages

Should I get a divorce? 10 things to consider

Ensure you have all the information you need.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

If you are looking for even more detailed guidance on what to expect if you go down the route of alternative dispute resolution, read more here.

Divorce & Separation

Divorce & Finances

Children Matters

Domestic Abuse & Injunctions

Cohabitation Agreements

Collaborative Law

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