Using mediation for cross-border family disputes

Brexit forced legal changes to the England & Wales legal system in that enforcement of court orders, in certain circumstances, has become more complicated. This posed substantial challenges to cross-border family law and has impacted British citizens in disputes with EU citizens, leaving uncertainty for some parties as to their legal options.

Here, we examine different types of cross-border family disputes, and how EU law applies in England & Wales after Brexit. We also explore the benefits of mediation in such disputes, and what you might expect from a family mediation session. Finally, we see how Giambrone can help.

Click on a link to that section:

Read the common types of cross-border family disputes.

Find out how Brexit has impacted the cross-border family law.

Read how using mediation may benefit you.

Find out what to expect from using mediation for a cross-border family dispute.

Read your other options for resolving a cross-border family dispute.

Find out how we can assist you in resolving a cross-border family dispute.

We answer common queries on resolving a cross-border family dispute.

Types of cross-border family disputes

There are many types of cross-border family disputes where Brexit has had an impact. Including issues surrounding divorce, as well as matters concerning children. Such cases may cover international child abduction. Disputes involving property ownership may also be impacted by the changes and private international law.

How Does EU Law apply in the UK after Brexit?

Post-Brexit, if you become engaged in a family dispute with someone in an EU country, the laws which you need to adhere to may vary. However, while some laws have changed, in cases of international child abduction, the UK remains under the auspices of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, as do current EU member states. In cases of divorce, judgements made in EU member states will generally be upheld and recognised under England & Wales law. However, you will be able to apply for a court order to state that a judgement regarding divorce should not be recognised. With regard to the placement of children cases, the 1996 Hague Protection of Children Convention will apply to both England & Wales and EU member states.

The benefits of mediation in resolving cross-border family disputes

Mediation can be an effective way of resolving cross-border family disputes, and a preferable option to that of litigation. Full litigation can often take much longer than a mediation process. Mediation can also more convenient than litigation, as you have more control, you are able to choose when and where it takes place. You can discuss matters calmly with the other party, with the help of a mediator, maintaining civility and perhaps improving damaged communication.

Do you need assistance in resolving a cross-border family dispute? Find out how we can help here.

What can you expect from a mediation?

When it comes to mediation in connection with a family dispute, you and the other party involved will discuss the issue in a neutral space, with a non-partisan presence to help guide the discussions. Each party will be able to put forward their point of view and the mediator will facilitate the discussion to ensure that it does not become heated or unproductive. The mediator will help you to come to a resolution that benefits both parties - however, this will need to be legalised once it is agreed, as the mediator does not have the power to impose a legal agreement.

Find out more about mediation here.

What are the other options for resolving a family law dispute?

If mediation fails or the situation is not suitable for mediation, such as in complex parental child abduction cases, then you may wish to go through another method of dispute resolution, arbitration. Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that, like mediation, involves both parties in the dispute discussing existing issues and attempting to reach a resolution with a non-partisan legal presence. Unlike a mediation service, an arbitrator can make a legal decision that they believe is in the best interest of all parties. This will then need to be legalised.

Litigation means you will proceed to a courtroom setting where there will be no engaging in a discussion with the other party in the dispute - instead, the lawyer of each party will state their case before a judge and the judge will decide on the best outcome. The judge’s decision will be legally binding and you will be legally bound to abide by the decision.

Getting assistance from an international law firm

If you are caught in a cross-border dispute, choosing an international law firm can be vital in helping you get the best outcome possible. Giambrone & Partners has qualified multi-jurisdictional lawyers based in different countries and jurisdictions who are, not only familiar with the local laws and how they interact with and impact with England & Wales law, but can also speak your language as well as the local language.

How can Giambrone help?

As experts in matters of cross-border international family law, we can help you to understand complexities of international law, and communicate effectively with authorities in a range of jurisdictions. We also have extensive experience mediation and other forms of ADR.

Find out more about how Giambrone can help here.

Contact Giambrone

Get in touch with us via our call-back request page to see how we can help you with your own cross-border family dispute.

Frequently asked questions

Has Brexit changed international child arrangements?

Since Brexit, EU law no longer applies to cases held in family courts in England or Wales. Instead, the 1996 Hague Convention is used, as laid out in the Hague Conferences.

What type of issues can be mediated?

Mediation can be used in a range of cases, such as divorce or child custody (including child abduction), or with disputes between neighbours, family members, or those with business disagreements. It may also be useful for family law disputes involving the ownership of assets.

How does remote mediation work?

Remote mediation works by utilising phone or video technology. Involved parties and a mediator will all be on the call and can hold a discussion just as they would in person - it can be useful for those in different countries.

When should family mediation be used?

Family mediation and international family mediation should be used in cases where communication has broken down and conversations can be conducted with a supportive neutral party.

What is the role of the mediator?

The role of a mediator is to facilitate discussions and help each person to state their own point of view and best-case outcome. The mediator will then help both parties discuss how to reach a mutually satisfactory solution, and advise on how this can be legalised.

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