Last Updated on 5.3.21 by Nicola Fraser
Whilst the breakdown of a relationship can be hugely upsetting and often frightening, the last thing that will improve the situation, especially for any children involved, is a legal war.
Any professional matrimonial lawyer should know this and have the skills to put your interests and those of your family first. Obviously, it is vital that arrangements for children, financial facts, needs and legal principles are completely understood and addressed, but it is equally important to do it in the best way for the family.
Collaborative law is a professional approach to divorce that empowers you to achieve an outcome that is agreed upon and arrived at jointly and openly.
It has been adopted by many experienced divorce lawyers who have seen first-hand the negative impact and cost of divorces that are approached by some clients (and unfortunately some solicitors) as a war of attrition and point-scoring. Trained collaborative lawyers will instead provide a supportive divorce process through shared communication. Each party’s Collaborative Solicitor will act as a legally aware mediator with the aim of reaching a workable and legally sound conclusion. The process includes:
- Pre-agreed agendas.
- Joint meetings with both parties and their lawyers, to discuss financials and address practical facts as well as personal concerns and issues about the children.
- Meetings are based on an initial written agreement that sets out the plan and reasons for working towards an agreed outcome. This is drawn up by the parties themselves and both they and their collaborative lawyers “sign up” to this at the start.
- Matters are openly discussed with the professional support and advice of both lawyers to agree on arrangements for any children of the family plus a full financial and property settlement.
- It can take between one to five meetings to achieve an overall agreement, which is then drawn up into an agreed Court application. This is submitted to the Court in order to request that the Court approve the agreed settlement as a final and legally binding Order. During this process, neither party has to attend court.
The outcomes are agreed, rather than imposed. There are no winners or losers in the collaborative process, plus there is more scope to arrive at a bespoke arrangement that works for each individual family than contested Court proceedings might achieve. Most important of all, you are the ones to decide the outcome and your own family’s future rather than risking your fate (and theirs) to the increasingly uncertain outcome that any given Judge on any particular day might impose.