The collaborative family law process is a non-confrontational approach to resolving issues arising out of family or relationship breakdown. The collaborative law procedure is based on open, honest collaborative communication with a focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution.
The process is becoming increasingly popular with separating couples, particularly those who wish to reach agreements in respect of their separation in a constructive environment. This can not only help to speed up the process but also help to maintain working relationships for the future and this can be of particular benefit to any children of the family.
Whilst it is difficult to say exactly how long the procedure will take an average period would be 3 to 4 months. This can be significantly shorter than contested court proceedings which can take much longer to reach a conclusion.
How collaborative law works
- Those willing to take part in the process will each need to instruct a collaborative solicitor and a participation agreement will be signed. This confirms that everyone is committed to resolving issues without going to court.
- There will be a series of meetings at which both the parties and their respective collaborative solicitors will be present. At these meetings information will be shared and discussions held in respect of potential outcomes. Parties are encouraged to be creative in their thinking when considering solutions. The goal is to find outcomes that both parties feel comfortable with and your solicitor will help guide you through the more challenging topics of discussion.
- If everyone agrees, other professionals can be invited to take part in and support the process such as accountants, pension experts, counsellors and life coaches. The process is very much dictated by the parties and it can be specifically tailored to meet the individual requirements of a particular separating couple.
- Once agreements have been reached the collaborative solicitors will prepare a settlement agreement which is usually submitted to the court and then made into a legally binding order.
At Burley Geach our experts recognise the unique nature of every client and every separating couple. We will be able to advise you as to whether collaborative law may be appropriate. We will always take the time needed to assess your individual situation to ensure that the approach taken is the one that is right for you.
Our specialist collaborative solicitors are members of local collaborative lawyer groups and have excellent working relationships with other collaborative solicitors in the area. If you would like to discuss the collaborative process in more detail please do not hesitate to contact your local office.