Alternative dispute resolution – not just for celebrities!


The very public and heated break up between celebrities Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sees no sign of cooling off amid new reports of another down turn in relations.

The famous exes are now at war again due to their respective working commitments; Pitt is filming in Los Angeles and Jolie has her own filming responsibilities with Maleficent 2 in Europe. This obviously has an impact on Pitt’s contact with the children. Jolie has also claimed Pitt is not providing meaningful financial contributions towards the children.

Reports have suggested that the warring pair have been offered ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ as a way to resolve their ongoing issues.

Whilst most couples who come to see myself and Sarah in our family department don’t tend to have Hollywood blockbusting movies to fit in around their contact with children, the principle remains the same; disagreements over child contact for the non-resident spouse is an all too real problem for a lot of divorced or separated parents.

Alternative Dispute Resolution means not all disagreements have to reach the courtroom.


Mediation is the process whereby parties voluntarily attempt to come to a resolution with the assistance of a third party.

Firstly, parties will attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) individually. This is to discuss with the mediator their case and receive information about the costs. Mediation may not be appropriate in every case, for example where domestic violence is involved.

Secondly, if mediation is thought to be appropriate then an appointment will be offered to the parties to attend jointly with the mediator.

If the parties can reach an agreement between themselves at mediation that is workable and helps minimise any conflict then it is much more preferable than going to court.

Collaborative law

The collaborative process involves a series of meetings (known as ‘round table meetings’) where parties sit down with their respective lawyers in order to work towards a settlement.

These type of meetings enable parties to openly discuss matters and issues and promote better relations between parties and less conflict. It is faster than attending court and the costs generally should be a lot less than attending several court hearings.

Whilst I have only mentioned two alternative options to resolving disputes in court there are many more.

If you want to have a chat with our experienced legal team, then contact Sarah or Molly on 01482 225566 who can give you the alternative options available to attending court in order to resolve your issues. We will be happy to help.

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