Family Financial Arbitration


Family Arbitration is a process for resolving all types of financial disputes in family matters. It is a formal process which allows for flexibility and confidentiality for the family.

Once parties decide on family arbitration, the Arbitrator imposes the outcome. The parties will be bound by the Family Arbitrator's award, even if the decision is one with which one or both of them disagree.

For those clients who doubt the ability to reach a sensible agreement with their former partner, it can be reassuring to know that they will exit the Family Arbitration process with a decision that provides for finality.

Family Arbitration can have many advantages over the more traditional court focussed method of dispute resolution. The Family Arbitrator decides only the issues that the parties agree need to be resolved and will decide the procedures to settle those issues fairly so as to avoid unnecessary delays and expense.

The parties can choose to be represented at the Family Arbitration hearings (by a Solicitor, Barrister or even a friend) but the process does not make this mandatory, and in some cases, the parties may decide to represent themselves.

Unlike a court imposed timetable, the timing of a Family Arbitration can be tailored to suit the parties' requirements. In sharp contrast to the court process, the parties will have the same Family Arbitrator throughout the entire case. This means the process can move forward in a more focussed and, therefore, more cost effective way.

The flexible nature of Family Arbitration can make it a quicker, cheaper and far less formal process than other methods of Dispute Resolution. In appropriate cases, discreet issues in a case can even be decided on the production of agreed papers only.

The process is commenced by the completion of form ARB1FS, available to download here or available from the Institute of Family Law Arbitration (IFLA). You can name your preferred Family Arbitrator on that form if you wish or the Institute will nominate an Arbitrator on your behalf. Once nominated, the Family Arbitrator will contact you or your representative to make the arrangements for the case to proceed. By signing the ARB1FS form you are both agreeing to be bound by the decision of the Family Arbitrator (known as the Award) which will be sent to you following the conclusion of the Arbitration within an agreed timescale. If required, the court will ratify the Award as an order.