Divorce Together and the Pre-Action Protocol

July 4th 2024

In an effort to streamline financial remedy case progression and reduce both the emotional and financial burden on families, a new Pre-Action Protocol (Annex to Practice Direction 9A) has been introduced in Family Law cases. This protocol, as part of the broader changes to the Family Procedure Rules, aims to encourage resolution before court proceedings are initiated, promoting a more amicable and efficient separation process. 

Understanding the Pre-Action Protocol

The Pre-Action Protocol sets out the steps parties must take before formally commencing court proceedings to resolve their financial separation. It applies to all parties whether or not they are legally represented. 

By fostering a cooperative approach, the protocol aims to minimise conflict and expedite settlements. This is done by focusing on open communication, early disclosure, and exploration of Non-Court Dispute Resolution [NCDR]. 

Key Elements of the Pre-Action Protocol

  1. Early Disclosure: Parties are required to exchange full financial disclosure as early as possible to enable proper informed negotiations to take place. 
  2. Correspondence and negotiation: Parties are encouraged to engage in constructive correspondence and negotiation before seeking the Court’s involvement. This involves outlining their positions, identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, and attempting to resolve issues through dialogue. 
  3. Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting [MIAM]: Before proceeding to Court, parties must attend a MIAM. During the MIAM, the Mediator will introduce the parties to mediation and assess whether it is a suitable method for resolving their issues. 
  4. Exploration of NCDR: The Protocol emphasises the use of NCDR such as mediation, collaborative law, arbitration, and early neutral evaluations to reach amicable agreements. 

Divorce Together

SE-Solicitors offer a service for couples who wish to separate amicably, and fairly resolve financial settlements or resolve arrangements for their children. This is a distinct service which allows couples to use one legal team. 

Our legal team can provide the couple with information and support them to reach an agreement and recommend the right options for settlement through an early neutral evaluation. 

The Pre-Action Protocol states that the Court may consider the parties who have obtained advice via a “single lawyer” or “one couple, one lawyer” approach as evidence of a constructive attempt at NCDR, provided the parties have fully engaged with the same. 

Divorce Together is unique in its set-up, which can help speed up the Court process in the event an agreement cannot be reached. Read more about Divorce Together here 

Benefits of the Pre-Action Protocol and NCDR

Utilising NCDR, like Divorce Together, has its benefits. These include: 

  • Reducing Conflict: By encouraging cooperation and early resolution, NCDR can help reduce the adversarial nature of divorce. This can lead to more amicable separations and better post-divorce relationships, which is particularly important for co-parenting. 
  • Costs Savings: Avoiding Court proceedings can significantly reduce the costs associated with reaching a financial settlement. Divorce Together, Mediation, and other NCDRs are generally more affordable that litigation.
  • Quicker Resolutions: Early disclosure and proactive negotiations can expedite the divorce process, allowing the parties to reach settlements faster and move on with their lives. 
  • Empowerment: NCDRs and the Protocol aim to empower parties to take control of their separation, making decisions collaboratively rather than having outcomes imposed by a Court. This can lead to more satisfactory and tailored agreements. 


The Pre-Action Protocol represents a significant step-forward in Family Law, promoting a more collaborative and less contentious approach to financial remedy cases. 

However you proceed, it is important to get legal advice early to consider your options. If you feel you need advice, please get in touch via our contact page or contact Sigourney Lee-Smith directly (01295 204009 or slee-smith@se-solicitors.co.uk).