News Article

New approach to family court disputes

New approach to family court disputes has been given the seal of approval by the Designated Family Court Judge for the North West Region, Her Honour Judge De Haas QC. The approach taken is for the Court to hold a conference to settle a child arrangements dispute, for example. Guidance for the New approach to family court disputes has been in place since 2014 and came to the UK successful use in American jurisdictions such as San Diego. Family law specialist at Cheshire solicitors Stonehewer Moss, Michael Brennan, is enthused that the local family  court will take up this approach now and feels that Resolution accredited specialist like himself and other members of the Cheshire Collaborative law group have the right skill set to enable clients to present their case to the judge within a settlement conference. Michael says, “I trained as a collaborative practitioner  10 years ago but it has not before now had the full weight of the Court behind it; I am not a mediator and while I can see mediation is a useful tool for some, it is not a panacea as the Government sought to make it for  family cases during the austerity years. Settlement conferences look a good option and Chester Family Court will offer the option in suitable cases. A party to family court cases wanting representation should consider meeting a collaborative practitioner without obligation by using the Resolution web site or the Cheshire Collaborative law group site. If the case is unsuitable for collab itself, it may be that the skills in negotiationacquired by experienced collab practitioners will assist a positive outcome for your family.”

The guidance explains the conference is confidential in terms of the future process if not settled and that there is a 15 days period after the conference that gives chance to reflect and take advice, after which, ” Within 15 days of a settlement conference, or such other time as permitted by the settlement conference judge, counsel must file with the court a report as to whether or not a settlement has been reached.”

Early indications are that settlement conferences have a 75% success rate. Michael believes fixed fees should make this option affordable to many people drawn into court disputes about their family.

For a no bligation meeting call 01606 872200 e mail visit  sat nav post code cw8 4dp

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