Collaborative family law is another means of resolving issues between you and your partner but, significantly, the collaborative family law process requires you and your partner to commit to reaching an agreement and settling matters without involving the Court to make decisions on your behalf. All of our partners and many of our solicitors are collaboratively trained and can advise you on the benefits of the collaborative approach.
In the collaborative family law process, the solicitors whom you and your partner consult will work together with you and your partner as a team. All negotiations and important decisions are taken in the context of "four-way" meetings attended by you and your partner together with your solicitors. Whereas in the traditional Court process, where the Court sets the timetable and focus for decisions regarding finances and your children, in the collaborative process every step of the way towards achieving a settlement is discussed around a table with your partner so that outcomes and solutions reached can be more flexible than those determined by a Court. Significantly, agreements are reached by you and your partner rather than imposed on your family by others.
At the outset of the collaborative divorce process, you will enter into a Participation Agreement (an example of which can be viewed from clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of the page). This is unique to the collaborative divorce process and sets out the way in which the discussions and negotiations will be conducted. It confirms that you and your partner will do all you can to resolve matters without involving the Court - this is central to the collaborative divorce approach, so that in the event that the discussions do break down and can go no further, the two collaborative lawyers will not be able to take any further part in the process and you will need to instruct alternative lawyers to take matters to Court.
An overview of how the collaborative process works in practice can be seen by referring to the 'Collaborative Family Law' flowchart pdf. The benefits of the approach include:-
1. You and your partner set the agenda so that what is important to you and your family can be articulated, heard and discussed.
2. All settlement discussions between you are transparent with no "behind the scenes" negotiations.
3. There will be no traditional correspondence between the lawyers as all of the work is undertaken in the face to face meetings.
4. There is much less room for misunderstanding while promoting long-lasting and constructive dialogue between you for the future.
5. You and your partner set the timetable for discussions, avoiding the long delays inherent in the traditional Court system.
The collaborative route is not a shortcut. All of the necessary financial information and documentation will be provided to enable you to form a considered view on the right outcome. Members of our team work in collaborative groups of lawyers (known as PODs) which include senior and experienced valuers (both business and property), financial advisers, pensions experts, Counsel and counsellors so that a holistic and expert approach is adopted at every stage to ensure that you and your spouse have the right help in assisting you to make these important decisions for your family. We look forward to discussing further with you the benefits of the collaborative approach.