I want to leave my relationship but can I avoid going to court?
Yes, there are various ways you can resolve family law disputes. In family cases the most common are direct negotiation through solicitors, mediation and collaborative law. It is possible for different parts of a family case to be resolved using different methods. Which process is right for you to resolve your family dispute should be reviewed as your case progresses. At Boardman, Hawkins and Osborne, our specialist lawyers will advise you of your options as your case progresses and will discuss with you the best process for you.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law was introduced in England and Wales over 15years ago. It arrived from Canada as an alternative to litigation (i.e. taking your family dispute through the courts). Not all family solicitors are Collaborative lawyers. Family Solicitors have to undertake very specific training to become Collaborative lawyers, and at Boardman, Hawkins and Osborne, we have a choice of lawyers that will be able to assist you.
As well as being a ‘traditional’ family lawyer, I have also trained as a Collaborative Lawyer.
It is a process that involves a series of meetings; that you agree the dates for and a time and place that suits you, with the aim of resolving your family dispute. The solicitors and parties sign a Collaborative Agreement, promising to try and reach an amicable agreement without the need to issue contested court proceedings. Should contested court proceedings need to be issued, the parties would need to instruct alternative solicitors to represent them in the court process. This means that both the parties and the solicitors have an interest in making the process work.
What family disputes can be covered under this process?
The family disputes that collaborative law can assist with range from what the examples of unreasonable behaviour should be in a petition, to who should issue the petition, to resolving who should get what in relation to the financial arrangements, to the arrangements for the children and the family pets. Essentially, any issues that have arisen as a result of the family breakdown can be addressed. You can set the Agenda and the timetable.
What are the benefits of Collaborative law?
The parties are able to control the timetable and speed at which the process moves forward.
The parties are able to decide what issues should be resolved.
The parties are able to find solutions outside the restrictions of the court process.
The parties can decide to bring in other expertise to help aid the decision making process including family consultants and independent financial advisers to enable them to make sensible decisions now and in the future.
Can this work during the current pandemic?
There is no reason why not! We can arrange to have our collaborative meetings virtually, via Zoom or similar platforms. Also, at BH&O, we are lucky to have the space in our offices where we could potentially hold collaborative meeting in a Covid-safe way.
To find out more and whether the Collaborative Process is right for you contact Karen Newman.
Karen Newman, consultant solictor