Collaborative Law can be used by parties when considering many different areas of family law. Collaborative law is a practice with the intention of resolving disputes amicably and co-operatively and should be considered as an alternative to the Court process which may be far too rigid for many families who wish to deal with separation and divorce or civil partnership dissolution in a more flexible manner. The central feature of the practice is for all parties (including that of their Solicitors) to enter into an agreement that they in principle are agreeing not to litigate their issues at Court; if parties subsequently decide to litigate through the Courts, then their respective Solicitors would be disqualified from acting. The main purpose and benefit to this is that all parties are committed to dealing with matters in a co-operative and respectful manner by working together.

The parties are fully involved in the process and can avoid the requirements and timetable that would be imposed upon them by the Courts. However, you will still be advised fully throughout this process. This can lead to speedy solutions and more flexible settlements. Where appropriate, the collaborative approach can involve other specialists such as Family Consultants, Accountants and Independent Financial Advisors who should all be collaboratively trained and any advice they provide would be on a neutral basis.

Listed below are a few points that you may wish to consider when deciding on this process:-

  • there is a the fundamental need for you both to deal with matters in the most pragmatic and decent way possible;
  • the great importance that you both attach to continuing your children’s good relationship with the other parent;
  • your belief that if things are managed in a good way and that however painful that will be, you will both be able to resolve the issues that remain and need to be addressed between you in as positive way as possible that makes most sense to both of you; and
  • that this process may enable you to bring closure to this chapter in your life in a dignified manner which will hopefully help you to preserve the memories of positive and good times that you have shared and which will enable you to promote positive outcomes and relationships between you (and any relevant children) going forward in the future.

For the process to work, both parties will need to consider some of the following to their circumstances:-

  • it is a process that must provide a place for you to both:-
  • really examine the issues that you have (rather than feel that you have to make quick “take it or leave it” decisions);
  • to identify all possible options to help solve those issues;
  • which helps you to “reality-test” carefully the consequences of your choices, so that when you reach a conclusion, you can both sense that it is the best of the options that could be identified;
  • you would be able to share your views and most importantly to hear and also to be heard;
  • you have the benefit of our experience and as required other professionals experience who have dealt with these problems in the past and who can share with you how others have addressed the problem, and, indeed share with you both the confidence that a resolution can be achieved;
  • be helped to structure your discussions as to be able to focus and bring the issue to a conclusion; and
  • bring third party experts to enable you to manage all of the issues (for example pensions) in a positive way.

Collaborative Law can therefore be very useful for many different family situations, for example, it can be used to draft agreements (for example, a co-habitation or pre-nuptial agreement); to assist in resolving disputes in relation to children as well as for divorce or civil partnership dissolution and related financial issues.

For further information and a leaflet please contact Paul Wild on 0118 958 9711

For detailed information on Collaborative Law, please go to the website www.collabfamilylaw.org.uk

Please note that Paul Wild is a member of the Thames Valley Collaborative Pod – for details of all members please go to the website www.thamesvalley-collaborativelawyers.org

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