Divorce & Separation – The Collaborative Process
When relationships break down talking things through can seem too hard as the strongest feelings are hurt, bitterness and anger. However, the best solutions are those which you work out together for yourselves in which all involved share. That is what collaborative law is all about – reaching solutions together so as to ease the pain of relationship breakdown and create the best chance of building a brighter future.
Traditionally, when couples split up, they each take independent advice from specialist family lawyers. Working through their lawyers, they try to reach agreement on how to settle their differences, share out assets and share responsibilities for children. However, if they don’t reach agreement then it’s left to the family courts to decide leading to uncertainty along with more stress, cost and delay.
The Collaborative Alternative
So, in most cases, the better alternative is for you and your former partner to sit down, with the help of your own solicitors, all together in the same room and work out an agreement face to face. Rather than dealing through your solicitors, you work with them to reach the best solution for you and your family. This process is known as collaborative law.
In order to work the collaborative process needs…
- A genuine desire to make it work from both former partners.
- A willingness to disclose, fully and honestly, information about all assets.
- Skilled and trained solicitors who are used to the collaborative law approach.
- An agreement that you will reach a solution without going to court.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
The advantages of the collaborative law approach are…
- You still benefit from having your own independent legal advisor but you are in control, without the threat of court proceedings hanging over you.
- You set the agenda and discuss the things that matter most to you and your family.
- You set the pace because you are not governed by court dates and appearances.
- You maintain contact with your former partner and thus have the best chance of understanding each other and finding the right solutions.
If children are involved, seeing you working things out together will help them to cope better with your separation (remember that you will both remain parents afterwards).
- You make the decisions about your future rather than a stranger in a courtroom.
This approach is changing the way people think about divorce. For couples who seek a fair solution, and want to minimise the pain of family breakdown, it may well offer the best solution. Also, because collaborative lawyers sign an agreement with you which disqualifies them from representing you in court if the collaborative process breaks down; they are committed to helping you find the best solutions by agreement, rather than through conflict.