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Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law helps ease the pain of family breakdown by putting you in control of the pace and agenda. It enables you and your former partner to find workable solutions together, in a dignified way, and without going to court.

If you really don’t want to go to court, but you still need strong professional support to resolve the issues arising from your relationship breakdown in a respectful way and without pressure, then collaborative law is the answer.

When a relationship breaks down, talking things over together might seem too hard to face. Hurt, bitterness and anger are often the strongest feelings. But almost always, the very best solutions are those which you work out for yourselves – together.

The traditional way for separating couples to deal with things is for each of you to go to your own lawyer; with the lawyers then communicating on your respective behalves to try and reach agreement on how best to settle your differences, whilst you go on your own separate ways. In many cases, and with the help of specialist family lawyers, couples do reach agreement in this way. Where they don’t, it’s left to the family courts to decide, and that leads to uncertainty, and often more heartache, stress and expense.

Collaborative Law offers an alternative. You and your former spouse or partner and your respective solicitors sit down in the same room and work things out, face-to-face. Rather than dealing through your solicitors, you work with them, through a series of “four-way meetings”, to reach the best solutions for you and your family. Your solicitor may also suggest bringing other professionals into the process to help reach an agreement.

Collaborative Lawyers are specially trained to work with couples seeking to shape fair and holistic solutions together.

What it needs to make it work

  • A genuine desire to reach an agreement that is fair to the whole family.
  • A willingness to disclose, fully and honestly, information about all assets.
  • Skilled, trained solicitors and other professionals who are practised in working in this way.
  • Commitment to reaching a solution without going to court.

What makes it so successful?

  • You set the pace – because you are not governed by court dates and appearances.
  • You maintain contact with your former partner. That way, you have the best chance of understanding each other, and finding the right solutions. Remember, if children are involved, you will both remain parents, and it will help your children to cope better with your separation if they see that you are working things out together.
  • Most importantly, the key decisions you make about your future are yours – they are not made by a stranger in a courtroom.
  • Collaborative lawyers sign an agreement with you which disqualifies them from representing you in court if the collaborative process breaks down. That means they are absolutely committed to helping you find the best solutions by agreement, rather than through conflict.

You can also find out more on the Resolution website.

Read our collaborative law FAQS