I was listening to the Simon Mayo show recently on Radio 2 and he had John Cleese as his guest.

John was telling a story about a court case and said words to the affect that all his friends that used to be lawyers and are now doing something else tell him that there is no guarantee with court proceedings and you are far better off keeping out of court.

I totally agree as in family cases, judges have a wide discretion and so there is no guaranteed outcome. There are also the costs of going to court which are often considerable and the stress it places upon the parties.

It is far preferable therefore if parties can reach an agreement and there are various options available to help couples do this, for example mediation, collaborative law and solicitor -led negotiation.

We offer all these options and in our experience, most clients prefer to proceed reasonably and to try and agree upon a financial settlement, particularly where there are children involved.