Collaborative law is a non-confrontational process for dealing with divorce and/or family problems without going to court. It is only suitable when both parties agree to go down this route and are willing to work together to reach a settlement, with the help of third parties to guide and advise them.
Collaborative law can be a useful method for resolving issues relating to children, finances, separation or divorce.
The collaborative law process has been structured to facilitate the chance of a successful settlement being reached and research indicates a success rate of 85%.
Collaborative lawyers are specially trained to enable this type of agreement.
The collaborative law process works on face to face negotiations in four way meetings with you, your partner and both of your representatives who will be collaboratively trained solicitors. The idea is that you will all work together to find solutions to the issues, which are acceptable to all parties.
When the process begins, your solicitors will make sure that you both understand the process and you will all sign an agreement committing to the collaborative law process. An agenda is set at the first meeting which outlines what the issues to be resolved are. It is critical that both you and your partner are committed to finding a negotiated settlement using this the collaborative law process.
You will then go on to discuss the issues at a series of meetings, with the guidance of your solicitors. Once a solution has been reached which you both agree on, you will both sign a settlement agreement at a final meeting.
When a financial agreement is reached it is then filed with the court which a Judge must approve. This then becomes a binding court order.
You and your partner will both have your own collaborative solicitor and will therefore incur costs at that solicitor’s rate. This is critical to ensure that you both receive independent advice.
The overall cost of the process is dictated by the length of time spent on reaching an agreement. The quicker an agreement is reached, the lower the legal fees will be. One of the major benefits of collaborative law is the removal of court fees associated with traditional divorce.
It is possible to include the issue of costs, in terms of who will pay them, as one of the areas to discuss during the negotiations.
One of the major benefits of collaborative law is that it is free from court imposed timescales. You and your partner are in control of the speed of the agreement. The more willing you both are to reach a compromise, the quicker the process can be.
Usually, people who choose the collaborative law process are confident that they can both be reasonable enough to reach a negotiated settlement.
If however, an agreement cannot be reached, the collaborative solicitors have to withdraw from the process and disqualify themselves from future litigation. You and your partner would then have to instruct new solicitors to take you down the traditional court route.
If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.