Collaborative law is a relatively new process offering an alternative way to resolve issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship. The process differs from the more traditional approach in that a couple will agree at the outset that they will not go to court to resolve their issues. The collaborative process can be used to resolve all aspects of a relationship breakdown from the division of assets and income to the future arrangements for any children of the family.
How it works
Both partners will have their own collaborative lawyer and they will meet with them individually and together in a series of meetings called ‘four-way’ meetings. At the outset everyone, including the collaborative lawyers,will sign a ‘Participation Agreement’ confirming the commitment not to go to court. There is the expectation that both partners will be open and frank with each other and that all relevant information will be fully disclosed. Sometimes other professionals will be involved to assist, including IFA’s, Accountants, Pensions experts and Counsellors.
The emphasis is very much on working together in a non-confrontational way to reach an agreement which is fair and tailored to each individual family and their needs. In particular it enables a separating couple to ensure that the future needs of any children can be fully addressed together. The couple set the agenda for the meetings which enables issues to be prioritised according to their particular needs and timescales. Whilst it is not for everyone the collaborative process is an option for couples seeking to retain channels of communication as they move towards the next stage in their lives.