While court proceedings can work well for some couples, it can easily become confrontational and acrimonious – no matter how hard you and your lawyer try to keep things civil. Situations can easily become inflamed, and petty issues can get in the way of sorting out the important ones. If you can’t come to an agreement, a judge could take those important decisions out of your hands – with results that you may not like.
However, there is an alternative option, if you are prepared to work with your partner to come to an agreement which is acceptable to you both. Collaborative family law is a non-confrontational approach to resolving issues following the breakdown of a relationship.
How does the process work?
At the beginning, each of you will engage a specially trained collaborative lawyer to represent you in discussions. The lawyer you instruct will act as your ally and adviser, but will work with, rather than against, the lawyer representing your partner in order to reach an agreement that is acceptable to you both.
At the outset, the couple and their lawyers enter into an agreement not to commence court proceedings, ensuring that all involved are committed to making the process work. If a couple later decides to take their case to court, they will be obliged to engage new lawyers and start the process over again from scratch.
You and your lawyers will then enter into a series of face-to-face, four-way discussions, with each lawyer supporting you both through the negotiation process and working towards achieving a solution that is in your and your family’s best interests. Once an agreement has been reached, the collaborative lawyers will present it to a court for approval, after which an Order will be made according to the terms of that agreement.
At Attwaters Jameson Hill, our expert collaborative lawyer, Karen Wallace, has years of experience in assisting couples to engage in open, honest and mutually respectful negotiations without the stress and uncertainty involved in court proceedings.
How could a collaborative approach help me?
It is common for divorcing couples to be anxious about their finances, and the cost of court hearings and the correspondence involved in resolving disputes through the courts can really add up. To start with, collaborative law does not involve court, meaning that you will not need to instruct both a solicitor and a barrister to represent you. Meanwhile, the process is much quicker because there is no need for time-consuming and expensive correspondence between the two parties in order to make decisions on important issues – as both partners and their lawyers are all in the same room together!
The court process can also take a heavy emotional toll, which can also be lessened through a collaborative approach. It allows couples to take the divorce process at their own pace, and arrive at mutually acceptable solutions in a dignified, non-aggressive manner. It can help each partner to maintain a good relationship with their ex-spouse, resulting in a healthier environment for you and your children going forwards.
Come to us
If you want to avoid lengthy, contentious and costly court proceedings and keep your relationship and mental health intact for the future, then collaborative law could be the option for you. We understand how painful the separation process can be, and therefore take a holistic approach to our clients’ cases that also looks after their psychological and financial wellbeing.