Collaborative family law is another means of resolving issues between you and your partner. Significantly, the collaborative family law process requires you and your partner to commit to reaching an agreement and settling matters without the court making decisions on your behalf.

Many of our partners and 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.

In the traditional court process, the court sets the timetable and focus for decisions regarding finances and your children. In the collaborative process, every step towards achieving a settlement is discussed around a table with your partner. That way, solutions reached can be more flexible than those determined by a court. Most 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. 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. In the event the discussions break down, 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.

The benefits of the Collaborative Family Law approach include:

  • You and your partner set the agenda so that what is important to you and your family can be articulated, heard and discussed
  • All settlement discussions between you are transparent with no ‘behind the scenes’ negotiations
  • There will be no traditional correspondence between the lawyers as all of the work is undertaken in the face-to-face meetings
  • There is much less room for misunderstanding while promoting long-lasting and constructive dialogue between you for the future
  • 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 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) that include senior and experienced valuers (both business and property), financial advisers, pensions experts, barristers and counsellors. This ensures a holistic and expert approach is adopted and 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.

 

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Meet the Divorce and Family team

Our team is the pre-eminent divorce and family practice in the UK, ranked No.1 in both The Legal 500 and Chambers.

In an article in The Times, head of department Stephen Foster is “praised for leading Stewarts’ phalanx of family lawyers to the top of the pack”.

Debbie Chism, Partner, Divorce and Family, Stewarts