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The Collaborative Process - Case Study

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We were instructed by a Wife who had been a home maker for 18 years since the birth of the parties’ first child. She wanted to remain in the family home and was very concerned about how she would manage financially following a divorce. It was important to her and to her husband that they worked out a solution that both provided for the Wife's needs and was realistic. They both wanted to remain amicable and coparent to provide stability for the children and to be on sufficiently good terms to enjoy future family events such as graduations and weddings together without feeling uncomfortable. 

We suggested a collaborative approach and Husband also instructed a collaborative lawyer. Together we worked on a first agenda for the initial four-way meeting and we guided our client to prepare her Anchor statement setting out why she wanted to adopt an out of court process and also setting out her hopes for the future both financially and in terms of her ongoing parenting relationship with her husband.  

At the first four-way meeting agreement was reached on the type and extent of financial disclosure that would be required and a further meeting was diarised to take place once that disclosure had been obtained. We also discussed and resolved some interim issues that the Wife had not wanted to deal with directly with husband. 

Financial disclosure was reviewed at the next four-way meeting, and it was agreed that a PODE report would be obtained to advise on pension sharing and equalising pension income in retirement. Preliminary discussions took place regarding the types of settlement options available to them both.

Following receipt of the pension sharing report, a third four-way meeting was held, face to face round a table at our offices. The settlement options were explored fully with the benefit of full financial disclosure and expert valuation and pension sharing information. The transparency of the forum and the support and advice available within it enabled the parties to reach an agreement at the meeting. Shortly afterwards, a consent order was drawn up and approved by the court. 

The parties’ relationship had not been damaged by polarised positions or acrimony. Instead, their ability to problem solve together (with professional support) and reach an acceptable outcome that was best for the family as a whole has helped them to continue to communicate with confidence and without fear on essential family matters and parenting issues. 

Collaborative law is suitable for all types of dispute resolution where both parties are seeking an open and transparent process and wish to be constructively steered to finding the right outcome for the family as a whole.

Photo by Masjid MABA on Unsplash

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