Methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution

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. 

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution, often referred to as ADR is a method by which a divorce can be settled faster than through court. 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 ADR’s

What are the advantages of 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 traditional litigation process, 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 agreements 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. Click here for further information on Divorce & Finance.

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 when resolving financial issues by going to court. 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 then 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.

What Are Your Next Steps

Every individual, family situation and desired outcome is unique so we encourage you to get in touch and Book Your Free Initial Consultation today, call 01249 712193 or email for advice tailored to you and your family. 

What Our Clients Had To Say:

“Thank you very much for all your help this year, you have been fantastic and everything has run smoothly.  My ex and I still get on very well and your service was brilliant.  I will miss your friendly voice!” A G A, Devizes