If you need the urgent assistance of the Court, for example due to a need for domestic violence protection or for an Order in relation to, or to guard against, child abduction you can and wil continue to be able to make an urgent application to the Court. Similarly, parties to a separation can and will continue to be able to commence divorce or civil-partnership dissolution proceedings.

However, from 6th April 2011, parties to a more general dispute in relation to financial and / or children matters will have to attend a mediation information appointment before being able to embark upon an application to the Court.

Would be Court applicants who are Legally Aided, have for some time had to be referred to mediation services before being able to secure Legal Aid. It is also important to recognise that it is not necessary in the vast majority of cases to make an application to the Court, and that it is possible to settle matters through pragmatic discussions and negotiations.

Inevitably however, with the change in the law from 6th April 2011, it is more important than ever to find non-Court based solutions to family dispute resolution. All of the lawyers at the Head Partnership Solicitors LLP are committed to taking a holistic and pragmatic approach to resolving issues arising from separaton, without recourse to a Court application unless absolutely necessary. That is not to say that we will not passionately and robustly fight your corner at all times, but it is always important to consider what action to take, not only on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis, but also with reference to the fact that dispute and litigation can be destructive to the family, and the family will have to continue to exist post-separation in another form where there are children involved.

Sandra Marshall is able to offer mediation services. Sandra is also one 6 collaborative lawyers in the firm. For more information contact Sandra or Richard Rodway.