FM Family Law supports Good Divorce Week 2022

FM Family Law supports Good Divorce Week 2022

FM Family Law are supporting Good Divorce Week this week, doing our bit to highlight the crisis in the family courts and raise awareness of the different ways families can resolve their disputes away from court – where it is safe and appropriate to do so. FM Family Law lawyers favour a non-confrontational approach and underpinning our core values is to encourage finding a solution together by exploring the full range of out of court resolution options. In every case, we provide clients with detailed information in respect of the full range of resolution options available to help them make informed decisions about the best way forward for them and their family.

All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution who commit to a Code of Practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children. We are also mediators and collaborative lawyers and where we can we undertake resolution via arbitration.

Summarised below are some of the main resolution options which can avoid the need to go to court and are generally available to couples separating or divorcing.


Mediation is a forum for discussing and resolving issues with your spouse/partner away from lawyers and away from court. The role of the Mediator is to facilitate and support your discussions, as well as help you explore various options. The Mediator does not give legal advice and their role is impartial and neutral.

Negotiations between lawyers

Letters and emails are written setting out your respective proposals and negotiating towards an agreed settlement. Negotiations and discussions can also take place by way of face to face meetings, which you would also attend (known as a round table meeting).


An arbitrator is appointed make a decision for you if you and your spouse/partner cannot agree. You and your spouse/partner must have legal representation. The arbitrator hears arguments from both sides about your case before making a decision. The decision is binding. Settlement can be achieved in a less formal atmosphere such as court, and it can reduce delays and minimise costs. You can find more information about arbitration here, or at and at

Collaborative Law

This would involve meetings between you, your spouse/partner and collaboratively trained lawyers.  A Participation Agreement is signed by all confirming that everyone will work together for the benefit of each other and the whole family in order to reach an agreement. You agree formally not to involve the Court other than to endorse any agreement, when required.

You can find more information about the collaborative model at

The team at FM Family Law are happy to discuss the options available for reaching an amicable divorce or separation. To arrange an initial meeting with one of our lawyers please contact us on 01603 44333333 (Norwich) or 01223 355333 (Cambridge).

Friday Focus on Sue Bailey

Friday Focus on Sue Bailey

It’s our 11th and final week of our Friday Focus series. If you missed any of our previous posts, you can find them here. This week we are featuring our Sue Bailey:


What’s your role at FM Family Law?

I am a partner, solicitor, mediator and collaborative lawyer and I head up the firm’s Norwich office.


What do you most enjoy about what you do?

I enjoy supporting clients throughout what is often a difficult journey and helping them take the first steps in the next stage of their life.


What is your proudest professional achievement?

In 2015 I took the plunge, left the regional firm I had worked at since qualification and set up FM Norwich.  From beginning as just me working from home, our Norwich office has grown to an outstanding team of 7 over the last 7 years.  I am incredibly proud of what we have built at FM.

I will also never forget a Facebook post by a former client on Christmas Day one year.   It was a picture of him and his 5-year-old daughter spending their first Christmas together since she was born and thanking me for making it happen.  


When did you realise you wanted to go into law and what pathway did you take?

At secondary school, a couple of teachers commented that I’d be good as a lawyer, arguing a point of view and so it was probably these comments that first put the idea of law into my mind.  At the time I was a big fan of Aly McBeal too which probably helped…and shamefully, I also knew that I wanted a job where I could wear suits and nice shoes to work! 


 I took the traditional pathway of a degree in law followed by the legal practice course (LPC) and then a training contact.   I didn’t really enjoy my law degree and took a year out half way through, working as an elected officer in the Students’ Union.  My role there (Vice President for Education and Representation) involved managing the student support centre and organising campaigns throughout the university.  It was the elements of this role which sparked an interest for me in family law and supporting individuals in difficult situations.  I decided to proceed with an LPC and enjoyed the fact it was a more practical than theoretical approach to law.


What legal-themed book/film/TV-series would you recommend to others?

See above re Aly McBeal, although I expect it has aged really badly and watching it a second time as an adult, I realised how self-centred and unlikable she is as a character.    For something bearing more of a resemblance to what family law in this country is really like, the Children Act is outstanding and Emma Thompson’s portrayal of a Judge reminded me of a few of the excellent female Judges I appear before.


What’s the best advice you give clients?

Always consider several options before making a decision about the way forward, even those that feel outside your comfort zone.  Sometimes it’s the options you automatically want to say ‘no’ to that will provide the best solutions in the long run.  


What’s the best advice you can give to anyone considering a career as a solicitor

There is a lot of competition in law nowadays.    The only different thing about you from the next candidate is YOU and this is what you have to sell to future employers and later on, your clients.  Learn to promote yourself and think about what your strengths are and play to these in order to promote brand ‘You’.  


What’s the best advice you give yourself?

Remember, you’re actually rather good at this.


Kate Smith - Office Manager - Cambridge and Norwich For FM Family Law

Sue Bailey

Solicitor and Partner

01603 443333
07525 135555