What can you do when the other party is being completely unreasonable?

It can be highly frustrating when the party you wish to separate or divorce from, either does not respond to any request to move matters forward, or is being so unreasonable in their demands that you just cannot reason with them.

In our mediation companies, we always see the clients individually at first. This not only allows us to do our mediation checks that the FMC require, but also to allow the parties to speak openly and confidentially about what the issues are, what they would like to happen and any concerns.

By doing this, we also get an idea of how far apart the parties are in their dispute and how difficult a session it is likely to be. We can also put in place a plan to give the mediation the greatest chance of being resolved, such as using shuttle mediation, co-mediators or planned breaks.

But what can you do if the party you are in dispute with does not want to shift from their unreasonable position or is just ignoring any attempts to resolve matters?

Well, the good news is that you can get a resolution through the court and this will eventually happen. It just takes a very long time and costs a lot of money. But you will eventually get a result.

But there are steps you would need to take before this and the first is to try mediation. You will normally have to do this to apply to the court, but we will also contact the other party ourselves via two letters and our friendlier approach can often get a better response than a solicitor’s letter.

If they attend the first meeting on their own and discuss the options with the mediator, they are far more likely to engage. I have often been surprised by clients who have been miles apart in their positions but have managed to come together in mediation and reach an agreement. Over 6 years’ experience of mediating a variety of cases has taught me there is always hope to resolve matters amicably and quickly.

If the party does not wish to move from their position, then we have put together two options for you to take, before filling at court. The first option is for both parties to have independent legal advice. This can prove expensive, but we have managed to get it for a set fee, with a written report from £275 inc VAT. There is nothing like a solicitor writing that you will have to sell the house to make someone realise that maybe their views and that of the law are different.

The other option is for our barristers to write an independent review on what the law is, how it applies in your case and what a fair outcome would be from the court. This again, can help matters immensely – there is little point spending £20,000 each going to court to get an outcome that would be similar to what the barrister has said would happen.

If the other party does not respond or is deliberately delaying matters, your only option is to apply to the court. We always recommend using a solicitor for this. It will cost you more money but it is an investment in your future.

I remember when I was working in the police, a custody sergeant would ask the detained person if they would like legal representation. The prisoner would often say “Do I need it?” To which the sergeant would respond, “If you had appendicitis would you call a doctor, or if you had a flood in your bathroom, would you call a plumber?!”

The best advice we can give is, try every route to sort out your matter as amicably, cost effectively and fairly as possible and if that does not work, don’t delay in applying to the court with the backing of good legal advice.

Examples where one party has been unreasonable in their positions and the outcome:

  • “If her and the children want the (5 bed) house they can move back in with me. I’m going nowhere.” – A court later ordered the sale of the property and a 70/30 split to the wife. 
  • “There is no way the children will be spending any more than one night each month with him.” A court ordered joint custody on a 50/50 basis (currently being challenged by the wife).
  • “She can have 50% of everything but the pension is mine, I worked hard for it and she will never have any of it.” A court ordered 50% share of everything including the £750,000 pension fund.

The above cases jointly cost in excess of £100,000 in legal fees.  The most expensive was the parenting case, which is still ongoing, so that figure is rising. This is money that should have remained in the families in dispute. The children and in the last example grandchildren, could have benefited in their lives from their parent or grandparents resolving matters amicably.

Divorce Friend are specialist in amicable divorces, whilst ensuring you have excellent legal advice.  Call us on 0330 999 0313 or email us help@divorcefriend.co.uk. It could well save you tens of thousands on your divorce or separation.




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