Firstly, it is always open to the parties to negotiate a settlement. The court is always happy to hear the parties have settled matters without the need for a Final Hearing, whether it is early in the process or even the day before the Final Hearing is due to commence.
If you are close to settling but haven’t been able to bridge the gap between you, it might be of assistance to engage in a ’round table meeting’ with your spouse and his or her legal team to try and conclude a settlement.
You could agree private mediation with your spouse. This would take a different path to your initial mediation. You would agree to hire a mediator for a day. A private mediation would typically take place at one of the solicitor’s offices with your solicitor and possibly your barrister. The mediator would work with both parties to try and resolve matters, in which case a Consent Order could be drafted and signed on the day.
The final option would be to both agree to binding arbitration. Effectively this is akin to having a private Final Hearing. You and your spouse would jointly agree to hire and equally meet the costs of a private Judge who would effectively conduct a trial and then issue a Judgment. This could then be used to prepare a Final Order which would be submitted to the court for approval.