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What is Family Law Arbitration?

Family Law Arbitration is a way of resolving family disputes while staying out of Court. It is essentially a private court where legally binding decisions can be made, both parties must agree to arbitrate for it to progress.

Arbitration is a fairly new method of resolving disputes within Family Law. The original Family Law Arbitration Scheme was launched in 2012; it is now referred to as the Family Law Arbitration Financial Scheme following the introduction of the Children Scheme in 2016.

At David Gray Solicitors we have two qualified Arbitrators – Elspeth Thomson (Children) and Lucy Mead (Finance) who are members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Family law arbitration lawyers can resolve disputes including:

  • Financial Matters – property, pensions, maintenance and financial provision for children with the Financial Scheme.
  • Children Matters – childcare arrangements, where they should live, frequency and length of contact and general upbringing decisions with the Children Scheme.

The Financial Scheme

It can be used to settle financial disputes between married and unmarried couples. The scheme can be used for the following:

  • Marriage and its breakdown
  • Civil partnership and Its breakdown
  • Financial provision for children
  • Cohabitation breakdown

The Children Scheme

Arbitration regarding children was launched to give parties the option of reaching an outcome in a children dispute without the expense and time spent in Court.

Outcomes can be reached on issues such as child arrangements, contact arrangements, holiday contact, education provisions, and permanent relocation. Arbitration lawyers cannot help with significant safeguarding issues or child abduction.

Is Family Arbitration for me?

By using Arbitration, it is possible to retain more control over the process and it is a flexible, more cost-effective route. As the Court system becomes increasingly overused it is quicker to reach a resolution through Arbitration. In addition, You can choose your arbitrator, the hearings are private and take place at a convenient date, time, and place for all parties; we have comfortable offices in Newcastle city centre and South Shields.

If you are unsure whether an arbitration lawyer is the right option for you, get in touch with us for a no-obligation discussion to discuss your situation confidentially.

Reaching an agreement

Instead of receiving a judgment as you would be given in Court, you are given an award (decision) by the arbitrator which sets out their decision. The outcome may still be subject to a Court approval, but it removes the lengthy process that a full Court Judgment requires.


This leaflet from the Forum of Family Arbitrators provides useful background information. If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment please contact Louise Law on 0191 243 8163.

The David Gray Arbitration Team

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