Separation or divorce can be an extremely emotional and stressful time. There is also the added anxiety of seeking legal advice about children and finances and the worry of litigation or court appearances.
Resolution is an organisation which encourages a constructive and non-confrontational approach as a way of resolving differences in family law matters on separation. Collaborative Family Law is an extension of that approach, designed to reduce further the emotional impact of separation.
There is an alternative to the “traditional” approach of both parties instructing a lawyer to advise them and then negotiating on their behalf through correspondence and possibly issuing court proceedings. There is a way in which the parties can be much more involved and effectively in control, but still having the benefit of specialist family law advice.
Taking the Collaborative approach, each party instructs their own lawyer, who, through Resolution, has trained in working collaboratively. The parties and their lawyers all have a shared commitment to avoid litigation and sign a written agreement to work together and, in particular, to reach an agreement without going to court. There is a mutual aim of seeking to reach a fair settlement.
There must be a desire to work together, working with your lawyers to disclose openly all information about assets and any other issues, putting the needs of any children first. There is still a duty of full disclosure of the nature, extent and value of all income, assets and liabilities. Discussions and negotiations take place at face-to-face meetings with both parties and their lawyers together. The agenda is set by you and matters progress at a pace that you are both comfortable with. Most importantly, decisions are made by you both and not by a court.
Throughout the process both parties still have access to their own collaborative lawyer for advice but the joint meetings are client led, focussing on the issues that you want resolving, with a commitment to finding a solution through agreement, thereby easing conflict. No-one can threaten court proceedings.
It is hoped that at the end of the process an agreement is reached and that Collaborative Law will have minimised the anguish and pain of separation or divorce and also kept costs to a reasonable level.