Collaborative Family Law is a non-confrontational approach to family issues such as divorce, financial arrangements, and child contact arrangements, without the emotional costs that accompany traditional court cases.
What Are the Steps in the Collaborative Law Process and How Does It Work?
The first step in the process is for the individual parties to instruct a collaborative solicitor. Each party will need to instruct their own collaborative law solicitor.
Collaborative solicitors are committed to constructive ways of working and closely follow the Resolution code of practice. Resolution members will:
- Support and encourage families to put the best interests of their children first
- Assist with understanding and managing the long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions
- Act with integrity, honesty, and objectivity
- Continually develop their knowledge and skills
- Listen to and treat everyone with respect.
Each party will then have the opportunity to include other professionals to provide advice on matters concerning finances, children, or emotional support. They will work with the collaborative solicitor to help plan the best way forward for the family.
The next stage is for both parties to sign a participation agreement that states that they are committed to resolving all issues without going to court but with the assistance of their collaborative solicitors.
The third step is to begin attending meetings. As collaborative law is a flexible process, it will depend on the party’s personal situation as to how many meetings are required.
The solicitor will write down what has been agreed during the meetings into a document. This document is not legally binding but both parties will be required to sign it. If you would like to make the document legally binding you can ask your solicitors to draft a consent order.
If it looks like an agreement will not be reached, then the parties may need to consider going to court.
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Law for the Divorce Process?
There are many benefits of using the Collaborative Law process including:
- Ensures a fair outcome for both parties
- Control is maintained and an uncertain outcome of the court is avoided
- Minimises the negative emotional impact on the parties and children involved
- Gives the best chance of maintaining an amicable relationship
- The process can be shorter than through court
- Freedom to work around your own schedules as there are no court timetables to comply with
- Enables a settlement that best meets the individual parties needs and their children
- The parties are more likely to stick to resolutions they have proposed themselves than those imposed upon them by the court
Although usually a healthier route to family settlements, collaborative law is not right for everyone. Generally, both parties need to be committed to a positive and fair outcome and work together to achieve this. You will both also need a solicitor trained in Collaborative Law.
Our fully qualified collaborative solicitors can support you every step of the way to ensure the best outcome for yourself and your children.
You can find our handy flowchart showing the process of collaborative law here.
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