What is Collaborative Law?
It is the process whereby a separating couple, together with their collaboratively trained family lawyer, sit around a table and discuss all the issues which concern them.
The aim being to reach an amicable agreement whilst at the same time receiving all the legal advice you need.
Once an agreement has been reached the lawyers can then draft the Terms of Settlement.
Where finances have been agreed this will include preparing a Consent Order for the Court to approve.
If necessary you can include an accountant, family therapist or IFA at the discussions.
Just as in the normal process it is important that you each provide full financial disclosure.
You will be asked to sign a Collaborative Agreement which commits you both to the process. It is important not to discuss anything with your spouse or partner in between sessions. However, you may wish to discuss issues with your own Collaborative Solicitor.
Usually about 4 sessions lasting a couple of hours each time.
Each Lawyer charges his or her normal hourly rates. It is not a cheaper process but it is much quicker and promotes an amicable separation.
What if we don’t agree?
You will then need to instruct different lawyers to take the matter to Court. This usually ensures that both lawyers and their clients are fully committed to making the process work.
At best it can mean a separating couple remain on good terms for the future and both are happy with the agreement reached.
At worst it usually allows those matters in issue to be identified early and thus reduce future litigation costs.