A quick, easy, cheaper alternative to court

If you want quick, clear, decisions about your children that have the same enforceability as a court order, then arbitration is for you.

Arbitration is a way to get legally binding decisions about your children rather than go through the court process. It is approved by the court and our service is part of the Children’s Arbitration Scheme set up by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.

In court proceedings typically there are three hearings. These will take months to be heard. Where you and the other parent cannot reach a final agreement, getting a decision about your children will take a long time.

Through Children in the Middle®’s Arbitration Service we can schedule a hearing at relatively short notice, via Zoom, Skype or in person.

It usually only takes one hearing to make a decision about straightforward issues such as what time your child should spend with each parent, what your child’s surname should be, or where your child should attend school.

We can deal with more complex issues such as whether a child should move home within the UK or abroad, which will usually take two hearings, but in close succession.

The parents share equally the cost of the arbitration, which is a fraction of the cost of court proceedings.

The arbitration can be arranged much more quickly and faster than court hearings, especially during the current Covid-19 restrictions. Any decision will be legally binding.

Our arbitrator Sarah Evans is also a barrister and part-time Judge.

Contact us today by calling 0117 214 1797 or emailing office@childreninthemiddle.co.uk to find out if your case is suitable for arbitration.

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Helpful information:

Arbitration is a legally binding, quicker and cheaper alternative to court proceedings in disputes about children.

All children’s arbitrators are experts in children law, many of whom already sit as part-time judges, like Sarah. You and your ex have to agree to use arbitration instead of court, but other than that the processes are very similar, except quicker and cheaper. You can use lawyers or represent yourselves. You present your case to the arbitrator either in a specially arranged meeting (like a court hearing) or via Zoom, Skype etc, and the arbitrator makes a decision about your child.

An arbitrator has all the powers of a High Court Judge. The order is registered with the court via the arbitration process, which makes it as binding as a court order.

Court proceedings can take months if not years. They will most likely also cost you hundreds of pounds in court fees and thousands in lawyers’ fees. The benefits of arbitration are that it usually only takes one hearing and can be concluded from start to finish in weeks with the same result. The parents share the arbitrator’s fee. If you don’t use lawyers that will be your only cost. The arbitrator’s fee is tailored to your needs or the type of case. We believe this is the future, and with a backlog of cases because of Covid-19, this is the way to get a quicker and cheaper resolution to your case. 

Mediation is about you as parents communicating, co-operating and finding an agreement. Mediators cannot give you legal advice. If you manage to reach an agreement at the end of your mediation sessions, you will have a written agreement but neither parent is bound by it. Either parent can choose to withdraw from it. You will not have a court order.

Arbitrators go through strict training and vetting to qualify. After listening to both parents, the arbitrator makes a final decision about the care of your children. They also provide a written decision and draft court order, which is sent to the court. This is legally binding.

The Institute of Family Law Arbitrators set up the Children’s Arbitration Scheme. They also train and approve all arbitrators.

For more information about IFLA please see their website: ifla.org.uk.