What is Collaborative Law?
This is a way of finding a solution to family issues without the need for Court proceedings.
It is a process in which you and your partner or former partner each have a lawyer, and all have a shared commitment to avoid litigation.
The process involves informal discussions and joint meetings for the purposes of settling all issues.
Everyone involved in the process signs an agreement at the outset not to go to court and our mutual aim will be to reach a fair and equitable settlement.
What type of issues can the Collaborative Law process be used for?
- Pre Nuptial / Registration Agreements
- Living Together / Cohabitation Agreements
- Divorce – sorting out the divorce, finances and arrangements for children
- Sorting out financial arrangement after separation from your partner
- Sorting out the arrangements for children after separation
- Helping to sort out co parenting plans for same sex parents
What are the benefits of collaborative law?
- You can focus on what is important to you and resolve matters quickly.
- If there are children they can benefit as the process will focus on the children first.
- You can achieve a more flexible and creative solution adapted to your needs.
- The process is straightforward and eliminates the opportunity for misunderstanding.
- The goal is to enhance communication through the process and to lay the foundations for a healthy relationship afterwards.
- Where there are children it can provide a very powerful message as the children will see their parents resolving differences constructively together.
What distinguishes the collaborative process from the traditional court route?
- It will ensure that you and your partner / former partner have a voice and are in control of the process. If the Court is involved the case will be dictated by a Judge.
- By avoiding Court no evidence needs to be given.
- You will benefit from the strength of two lawyers working together rather than in opposition to one another.
- The process is confidential, whereas the Court process has been recently opened up to allow a media presence.
- The process is very much a future-focussed process and the aim is that you work with and not against your partner. In contrast, the Court process can become a battleground.
- Compared with the traditional Court process it can provide better value for money, particularly if long term solutions are achieved.
No collaborative lawyer can guarantee that this process will be effective in resolving your issues. However, there is every chance the process will work if there a commitment to be respectful and honest with a drive and determination to resolve the issues that are important to you.
Can other experts be involved in the process?
Yes. The Collaborative process takes an interdisciplinary approach as separation and/or sorting out family issues is not just a legal process.
Some people benefit on having a Family Consultant involved in the process. A Family Consultant can assist in improving communication skills or thinking about the psychological and social pressures associated with separation.
For parents it can be useful to have a child specialist involved to talk to about issues directly related to the children. A child specialist can assist parents understand the impact of their actions and separation on the children, identify and explain developmental needs or be an advocate for the children. If a child is exhibiting worrying behaviour a child specialist can help parents deal with this.
A Financial Adviser (called a Financial Neutral in the context of the Collaborative process) can be involved. They can analyse the overall financial position and help everyone work towards a realistic and viable solution where there are financial issues that need to be addressed.