Collaborative law is an alternative to resolving disputes through the courts.
It is a process that enables separating or divorcing couples to resolve issues in a non-confrontational way through open discussions supported by their lawyers. The process can be used to resolve all aspects of the divorce or separation including financial and children issues.
The collaborative process requires the separating or divorcing couple to sign an agreement (known as a "participation agreement") committing them to a series of four way meetings (the couple and their collaborative lawyers) and confirming that the participants will do all they can to resolve matters without going to court. If either party decides to opt out of the collaborative process and, instead, ask the court to resolve the outstanding issues, then neither of the collaborative lawyers who have been involved can continue to act. Both parties must then instruct new solicitors.
Before the process starts, the collaborative lawyers will prepare their client for the collaborative process; establishing their goals, objectives and expectations. These will be set out in an anchor statement which each client will read out at the start of the collaborative process. Prior to the first four way meeting, the two collaborative lawyers will meet to work out the agenda.
At the end of the process, the two collaborative lawyers will draw up the documents to enable the divorce to be obtained and the financial settlement to be formally recorded in a court order.
If you are considering the collaborative law process, please contact: our collaborative lawyer Kate Allen