Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck: Why Do Couples Choose To Delay Divorce?

10th October 2018 Family Law

Various press reports over the last week suggest that 3 years after they separated, a divorce is likely to be finalised between Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck in the coming months. The delay in finalising divorce, financial and child arrangements has been the subject of much press comment over the last 3 years, but is largely thought to be as a result of Affleck’s reported problems with alcohol, and the desire to see him recovered before making final arrangements.

It is not unusual for us to see couples placing matters on hold until they are fully equipped, emotionally and physically, to make final decisions about the future. Whilst for some, a quick resolution is best, sometimes, the needs of a separating couple and any children are best served by a slow and steady approach to unpicking the issues which arise from the breakdown of a family unit. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution in divorce and children cases. It is important that the approach is tailored to the specific needs of each individual family. Clients should never feel swept along in the process, and it is important for anyone involved in proceedings to be able to tell their legal team if they are struggling to cope, as well as to access any additional support or therapy needed.

An aspect of the reports that has attracted particular attention, is that apparently one or both parties have requested the matter be dealt with by a private judge, in order to bypass delays in the court system. Whilst in England and Wales, there are certain aspects of the procedure for divorce and financial settlements that must involve the court, there are several other options to assist a separating couple in resolving their issues without needing to wait for a court hearing, which can often take months. Mediation, collaborative law and arbitration have all increased in popularity in recent years, with the latter in particular allowing matters to be adjudicated upon within a few weeks, or even sometimes, in days. Private FDRs, where a suitably qualified legal professional undertakes a financial dispute resolution hearing instead of a full-time judge within the court system, in an effort to assist the parties in reaching a final settlement, have also become an increasingly popular option. Although such arrangements bring about extra costs for the “judge„ they can sometimes assist in minimising fees overall, by bringing the proceedings to an end far sooner than would have been the case in the main court system. Again, it is important that anyone involved in family law proceedings understands all of the options available to them, and discusses with their solicitor which method is best suited to their particular case.

To discuss any issues raised in this blog with myself or the team please do not hesitate to get in touch using the form.

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Cara Nuttall is a Partner located in Manchester Londonin our Family department

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