The media frenzy continues a week after Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt with every aspect of their lives – and the lives of their children – continuing to be played out in front of millions of people worldwide.
However, irrespective of whether you are Hollywood’s most “golden” couple, divorcing through the courts comes with no guarantee of privacy – as some of the hearings are open to the public and journalists can attend and report details of the proceedings.
They may do so if there is a salacious element, perceived wealth, or accusations of attempts to hide assets – which can be embarrassing and distressing for the couple, as well as their children, parents or business partners.
Our specialist family lawyers advise of three less public routes, outlined below, to take when marriages break down.
Arbitration is a quicker, less emotionally and financially draining alternative to court battles. The press is barred from hearings, which are arranged at clients’ convenience, at comfortable venues, where a family arbitrator rules on who should have what.
Just like a judge, the arbitrator bases his or her decision on relevant facts and evidence – taking into account the views of both parties. The award is final and binding on both parties. Arbitrators are not only qualified in their field – they are also experienced family lawyers who are either former judges or family law barristers or solicitors.
Mediation is also an effective and private way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party – a mediator – who helps both sides come to an agreement.
It is a highly effective method which can result in a swift resolution and save on legal expenses.
Couples often use mediation as a way to explore and discuss issues between them, with the assistance and guidance of an impartial mediator. Because many issues are resolved during mediation, they often find that they save a great deal in legal costs by opting for mediation first.
Collaboration sees couples each appoint their own collaboratively trained lawyer. They meet to work things out and are backed up by support and legal advice. All sign a contract committing them to trying to resolve matters by agreement, without going to court.
The lawyers will agree only to represent the parties within the collaborative process and not in court. This ensures that everyone at the table, not just the divorcing spouses but also their legal representatives are committed to finding an out-of-court solution.
Collaboration places an emphasis on a respectful and dignified resolution, putting any children at the heart of the process, and keeping the details private and confidential.
Divorcing couples who value their privacy are advised to consider these options which are also more cost effective, less traumatic and less prolonged than litigating.
About Peter Jones
Peter Jones is one of the country’s leading divorce and family lawyers.
A qualified arbitrator and mediator, Peter set up Jones Myers as the first niche family law firm in the north of England in 1992 and has acted for a string of high-profile clients.
Renowned for his sympathetic approach, he is a former national chairman of Resolution, a former Deputy District Judge – and instigated the D5 Group of law firms that promotes excellence in family law.