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In April 2024, significant changes were made to the Family Procedure Rules (FPR), which aim to encourage parties to resolve their family disputes away from the courtroom – by enhancing the court’s powers regarding non-court dispute resolution (NCDR).

This is a pivotal shift and one it is hoped will reduce delays, frustration and difficulties for families, whilst also easing pressure on the overwhelmed court system.  Indeed there are many benefits to settling family arrangement disputes outside of Court:


  1. Cost-Effectiveness:

– Court proceedings can be expensive, involving legal fees, court costs, and potentially other expenses. Resolving disputes outside of court can often be more cost-effective.


  1. Time Efficiency:

-There are significant delays in Family Court processes at present, so Court proceedings can be lengthy and time-consuming, often taking months or even years to reach a resolution.  By resolving disputes outside of court, you can often achieve a faster resolution, allowing you to move on with your life more quickly.


  1. Greater Control:

– When you settle disputes outside of court, you have more control over the outcome. In court, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the judge, who may not fully understand your family’s dynamics or priorities. By reaching an agreement outside of court, you can tailor the outcome to better meet your needs and those of your family members.


  1. Reduced Stress:

– Court proceedings can be stressful and emotionally draining for all parties involved, including children. Resolving disputes outside of court can often be less adversarial and contentious, leading to reduced stress and tension.


  1. Preservation of Relationships:

– Family disputes can strain relationships, particularly when they escalate to court battles. By resolving disputes outside of court, you may be able to preserve or even improve your relationships with family members, especially if you can reach an amicable agreement through negotiation or mediation.


If you have been to Mediation, or used another NCDV process, it might be necessary to have the agreement reached approved or ‘sealed’ by the Court, whether your agreement is to do with the arrangements for your children, or the separation of your finances.  This makes it legally binding, so you have a recourse to Court if the agreement breaks down in future.  Get in touch to ask us how we can help you to ensure your agreement is legally enforceable. 


Post Author: Liz Edmunds

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