Collaborative law is a method of resolving disputes out of court. Any family dispute can be considered for resolution by way of the collaborative process. It may be assistance is required to sort out the arrangements for the children or agreeing the reasons to separate or divorce, or it may be you want to reach a financial agreement without going to court. In other cases, couples want assistance with negotiating and finalising a pre-nuptial agreement or living together agreement.
Frequently, talking things through can be the hardest challenge of all. However, often the very best solutions are those that you work out for yourselves – together with legal advice and support. At its simplest, the collaborative process is about reaching solutions together, to ease the pain of family dispute’s or breakdown.
Under the collaborative process, each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer and you and your respective lawyers all meet together to work things out face to face. Both of you will have your lawyer by your side throughout the process and so you will have their support and legal advice as you go.
You and your team sign an agreement that commits you to trying to resolve the issues without going to court and prevents them from representing you in court if the collaborative process breaks down. This means that everyone is absolutely committed to finding the best solutions by agreement, rather than through conflict or court proceedings. Once an agreement is reached, the legal advisers will put the agreement into effect by obtaining a court order where needed.
Advantages to the Collaborative Process
- It can be a cheaper and quicker way of resolving family issues.
- It avoids the uncertainty of outcome of the court process.
- Negotiations are conducted via a series of four-way meetings rather than through correspondence or over the telephone between lawyers.
- It can be a less stressful way of reaching agreement as a key aim is to reduce conflict and improve communication between you for the future.
- Working together to achieve an agreed outcome means that you “own” the process
- The process can be flexible so you can meet as often as you need to.
- You set the pace and decide the timetable and how long the process takes.
- You still benefit from having your own independent legal adviser.
- Your legal adviser can bring in other experts when support is needed. This may include for example, an Independent Financial Advisor, pension expert, accountant, family consultant, child specialist or a collaboratively trained barrister who would act as a neutral expert.
- You are in control, without the threat of court proceedings hanging over you.
- You set the agenda, so you talk about the things that matter most to you and your family.
- You maintain contact with your former partner. This enables you to have the best chance of understanding each other, and finding the right solutions.
- Where children are involved, it sends a positive message to your children, if they see that you are working things out together.
- Most importantly, the key decisions you make about your future are yours, they are not made by a stranger in a court room.
Please contact Karen Newman to discuss our collaborative law service.
Karen is a trained Resolution collaborative practitioner and is the co-pod liaison officer for a collaborative pod committee and is skilled in helping her clients to benefit from the collaborative approach. Find out more here.