Collaborative family law is a new approach to negotiating and settling issues arising predominately from divorce or family separation. Its aim is to resolve family disputes without those inolved having to go to Court.
Through a series of meetings the separating couple and their lawyers seek to create a dignified and co-operative attitude to negotiation in order to achieve an amicable a settlement as possible for the family as a whole. The focus is on reaching an agreement on the basis not of what a Court might achieve but what is the best solution for the family.
The collaborative process promotes an environment where the separating couple can respect and value each other's opinions and recognise the need to work together after the divorce/separation process has finished. This is especially important where children are involved, as they will have to develop and maintain a working relationship throughout their children's lives.
Each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer who is there to guide them throughout the entire process and provide relveant legal advice. However, instead of conducting negotiations by letter or telephone the separating couple and their lawyers attend "four-way" meetings to work things out face to face.
The separating couple sign an agreement at the start of the collaborative process confirming their intention and commitment to working out an agreement without going to Court. To confirm and protect that commitment the couple and their lawyers agree that the lawyers cannot take part in any Court proceedings that may occur if an agreement is not reached.
To assist in reaching an agreement it is possible to involve other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning or people trained to assist children in understanding and coping with the changes that divorce/separation will bring to their lives. This helps to ensure the solution arrived at is both appropriate and workable for all involved.
The collaborative process is not driven by a timetable imposed by the Court. So to a large extent it can be built around each family's individual timetable and priorities.
Collaborative family law is not suitable for every case and only those involved can decide whether or not they want to try it. However research has shown that where a separating couple reaches agreement, their long-term post-separation relationship will be more open and relaxed and outcomes for children involved more successful.
Collaborative family law may well therefore be for you if:
If you are interested in finding out more about collaborative law and how it could assist your family or require advice about divorce or separation in general please contact Zoe Gaitskell on 01404 548055 who is a trained collaborative lawyer.