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Collaborative Law

No two families are alike. No two family breakdowns are alike. The difference between collaborative law and conventional proceedings is that the collaborative route enables you to resolve your family law issues in the exact way that is right for you and your family. Its approach to each case is unique and governed by the particular needs of you and your family. There is flexibility, openness and true consideration can be given to all the needs of the family.

Collaborative law is the legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate to work with their lawyers and other professionals to reach an agreement that is best for the whole family and avoids the court process.

How it works

  • You sign up to a Partnership Agreement with your spouse/partner, your collaborative lawyer and their collaborative lawyer to resolve matters collaboratively through four way meetings. The principles of co-operation, honesty and respect for one another are enshrined in the Participation Agreement.
  • A series of four way meetings take place with you setting the agenda and timetable during which information and documentation will be shared and interest-based negotiations will take place
  • Your solicitor can no longer act for you if you choose to end the process and issue court proceedings. This incentivises all those involved, including the lawyers to be committed to the process. You are effectively opting out of the court process.
  • Once an agreement is reached, a Consent Order is drawn up and lodged at court for approval by a District Judge. No court attendance is required.

The benefits

  • You have control in managing the process in setting the agenda and discussing the priorities for you and your family
  • You  have flexibility to set the pace of meetings and their timings to fit in with what suits your family timetable
  • You have your own legal advice and guidance throughout and your collaborative lawyer will process all required legal documents for you
  • Meetings take place in an informal setting and a safe and productive environment where you can be listened to
  • You work together with your spouse/partner to reach an outcome that is best for the family as a whole
  • A platform for communication with your spouse/ partner is provided and can be built on
  • Access to third parties who can assist with the financial, emotional and practical issues affecting you and your family such as life coaches and independent financial advisers is available as part of the process if needed.
  • The family benefits knowing that issues are being resolved together constructively without the threat of litigation
  • Agreements can be reached as to how legal fees will be paid and it is unlikely that your fees will be significantly different to those of your spouse/partner
  • The financial and emotional cost of expensive and acrimonious court proceedings is avoided
  • Creative solutions can be constructed to include family circumstances that are important to the family but would be overlooked by the court as outside its jurisdiction
  • The uncertainty of litigation outcome is avoided as you retain control over the settlement that will be reached
  • You should find out more about collaborative law if
  • You wish to retain control over your family issues and avoid them being dealt with impersonally and orders being forced upon you by the court.
  • You wish to resolve issues in this way and are willing to honestly disclose information requested and  communicate your views.
  • You wish to retain control over the pace of the process and its cost
  • You wish to prioritise the interests of the children and the needs of the family as a whole
  • You are willing to listen and respect your spouse/partner's views
  • You are willing to work towards a resolution in a co-operative and creative way
  • You wish to avoid the damage that court proceedings could cause to you and your family
  • You would like a supported and private environment in which to clarify your needs and interests and be listened to.
  • You require legal advice and guidance throughout the process and in meetings
  • You recognise that although the relationship as a whole, the family itself still exists but in a new way as two separate homes from which you and your family can work together and move forward
  • You wish to retain a respectful relationship with your partner/spouse beyond relationship break down
  • You wish to bring closure to your relationship in a dignified way
  • You wish to preserve relationships with family, extended family and mutual friends
  • You wish to avoid conflict and expensive court proceedings

You should find out more about collaborative law if

  • You wish to retain control over your family issues and avoid them being dealt with impersonally and orders being forced upon you by the court.
  • You wish to resolve issues in this way and are willing to honestly disclose information requested and communicate your views.
  • You wish to retain control over the pace of the process and its cost
  • You wish to prioritise the interests of the children and the needs of the family as a whole
  • You are willing to listen and respect your spouse/partner's views
  • You are willing to work towards a resolution in a co-operative and creative way
  • You wish to avoid the damage that court proceedings could cause to you and your family
  • You would like a supported and private environment in which to clarify your needs and interests and be listened to.
  • You require legal advice and guidance throughout the process and in meetings
  • You recognise that although the relationship as a whole, the family itself still exists but in a new way as two separate homes from which you and your family can work together and move forward
  • You wish to retain a respectful relationship with your partner/spouse beyond relationship break down
  • You wish to bring closure to your relationship in a dignified way
  • You wish to preserve relationships with family, extended family and mutual friends
  • You wish to avoid conflict and expensive court proceedings

Next Steps

Contact Joanne Houston, collaborative lawyer for a free 20 minute consultation to find out how the collaborative process can work for you and go to the Resolution website for more information

http://www.resolution.org.uk/collaborative/

 For more information view our collaborative law factsheet.

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