Family law - alternatives to court

The majority of disputes … are capable of consensual settlement… all cases which can be settled should be settled.

Lord Wilson SCJ
Family Law Services at Penningtons Manches Cooper banner

Latest news & insights:

We take a bespoke, solutions-based approach to helping you resolve issues arising from separation. Often, this can be achieved without going to court. Avoiding court can reduce costs and stress. It can help you to maintain a better relationship with your former partner, which particularly benefits any children you have.

Our expert, experienced family lawyers provide our clients with an unparalleled service in a compassionate, professional and cost-effective way. We can guide you to select the approach that is most suited to you and your family’s circumstances.

The breakdown of a relationship is never easy and confrontation over the terms of the separation will make things even more difficult. Our lawyers will help you to consider whether you and your former partner may be able to resolve some or all of the many issues that arise following separation through discussion and agreement using solicitor negotiations, mediation, collaborative law or private alternatives to court such as private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearings and arbitration.   

You can find more information about mediation (including hybrid mediation and solicitor supported mediation), collaborative law and private alternatives to court by clicking on the links below. Six of our specialist family lawyers are qualified mediators and eight are trained collaborative lawyers. We also have a qualified arbitrator.  

Even if you decide neither mediation nor collaborative law are right for you, it may still be possible to avoid court. Many of our cases are settled by skilled negotiation without the need for a court hearing. All of our lawyers are members of Resolution, the leading organisation of family justice professionals, and are committed to adopting a constructive approach without unnecessary aggression.  

We offer an online system that can help our clients to understand their legal position, prepare for their first meeting, and provide us with the information required to maximise the value we can deliver. If this appeals, we invite you to get started online. If you would prefer to speak to one of our family lawyers, please contact a member of the department directly. Telephone numbers and email addresses appear on their website profiles.

Meetings can take place in person at one of our offices (London, Guildford, Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke, Birmingham or Cambridge) or via video call depending on your preference. This flexibility allows us to assist many internationally mobile families. 

We offer expert advice on:

Recent work highlights

Arbitration over choice of school

Using arbitration to resolve a dispute between two parents about which school their child should attend. The matter was heard in a day with judgment handed down 48 hours later.

Mediation for divorcing couple with a tight timeframe

Acting as a mediator in a case where the husband was due to move overseas within six weeks. All issues in relation to the couple’s children and their finances on divorce were resolved within that timeframe.

Legal advice in the background during mediation

Representing a husband attempting to resolve financial issues through mediation in a case involving assets of £18 million and a very complicated remuneration structure. We prepared the client’s Form E and Replies to Questionnaire and identified suitable experts in relation to tax and pension issues.

Private Financial Dispute Resolution hearing

Acting in a highly contentious divorce involving disputes over pre-acquired assets, the value of a start-up company, the wife’s earning capacity and liquidity issues. After proceedings were issued, our client and his wife agreed to a private FDR hearing resulting in the settlement of all issues.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP