Collaborative law is a method of conflict resolution which works outside the court system. It is fundamental that you and your spouse can communicate well and are willing to co-operate with each other. All parties including solicitors enter into a Participation Agreement, committing to work hard to achieve a ‘good divorce’. All discussions and negotiations take place face to face.

This is a positive approach to take and can be beneficial in cases where you will need to continue co-parenting your children. The collaborative approach can also offer a quicker and more cost efficient process for resolving issues.

We have a number of qualified collaborative lawyers in our team who would be happy to discuss whether this is the right approach for you. Both you and your spouse must instruct solicitors who are collaboratively qualified to use this method of dispute resolution.

1. What is the difference between conventional representation on divorce and Collaborative Law?

The approach is unique in that both the parties and their respective collaborative lawyers come together to openly discuss matters and reach an agreed solution. There is very little correspondence between solicitors as everything is done face to face. If experts are required, they too may be invited to the meetings.

2. What is the difference between Mediation and Collaborative Law?

In mediation, one neutral professional assists both parties to attempt to settle their case. The mediator cannot give either party legal advice or act in any way which may be regarded as biased. The collaborative approach means that both parties will receive their own legal advice and assistance but solicitors also advise the parties during the meetings.

3. Can Collaborative Law only be used if I want a divorce?

The collaborative approach can also assist with Prenuptial Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements and disputes about children. It can be used to negotiate any legal issues affecting a relationship. It is not, however, counselling.

4. Is Collaborative Law suitable for everyone?

You need to be confident that you will be able to negotiate with your partner, and that you trust one another to work together to find a solution. If there is a history of domestic violence, intimidation or a power imbalance between you, Collaborative Law would not be appropriate. It is important that we are certain that this approach is right for you because if the process breaks down, both you and the other party will have to instruct new solicitors. Our Collaborative Lawyers can discuss this with you in more detail.

5. What information is made available during the collaborative process, and what happen if the other party withholds information?

Parties agree to disclose all documents and information on a voluntary basis and to cooperate fully with the meetings in order to make them as productive as possible. If you fear that your partner will not make full and frank disclosure and you do not trust them, then Collaborative Law may not be the right approach. Dealing with matters collaboratively is not to be seen as a ‘soft option’; the obligations upon you to provide documents, information and explanations are the same as those obligations upon you within the court process.  

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