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What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law Process

This unique process is sometimes referred to as 'no court divorce' as avoiding court proceedings is the fundamental aim of the process. It recognises that the breakdown of a relationship is one of the most difficult and painful times in a person’s life, and that communicating to resolve issues is often a far more beneficial approach for both individuals than fighting through the court process. It is generally a faster and more family focused approach than the traditional approach. The collaborative process ensures that the divorce or separation is dealt with in a dignified and respectful manner for the benefit of the entire family, and is particularly beneficial where there are children of the family.

Collaborative law involves a series of round table meetings with the couple and their respective collaborative lawyers, allowing honest and open negotiations and avoiding heated solicitor correspondence and the threat of court proceedings. The meetings are tailored to the specific circumstances of the family and the process is extremely flexible so as to enable the best resolution for the entire family, including any children of the family. At the same time you will have your lawyer on hand to advise you throughout and to protect your interests, whilst negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement of the issues within the meetings.

How does the collaborative process work?

  • There is a commitment at the outset to work together to resolve issues and not to commence or threaten court proceedings.
  • Information is shared openly and honestly in a series of meetings with the couple and their respective collaborative lawyers.
  • There are negotiations aimed at reaching a fair and reasonable agreement for the family as a whole.
  • The couple set the agendas for the meetings meaning that they are in control of the process as opposed to the lawyers.
  • Whilst the success rates are high, should the process break down the couple will have to instruct new lawyers to commence litigation.

Due to the flexibility of the collaborative process, tailored and creative solutions can be achieved that will benefit the family as a whole. Neutrals can also be used in the collaborative process to provide more specialist advice and assistance when required. As all meetings are conducted in a dignified and managed way couples are much more likely to be on better terms at the conclusion of the process than if they had chosen the traditional route.