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What is Collaborative Law?

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law enables separating and divorcing couples to work together with their respective collaborative lawyers to find appropriate solutions to their issues without involving the Court.

All aspects of the separation, including children and finances, are discussed in a fair and constructive manner. Meetings take place face to face with each party’s individual accredited collaborative lawyer present. The aim of the process is to find a resolution that suits the needs of both parties and any children involved in the separation.

Collaborative law aims to minimise the emotional impact of separation in a calm and respectful manner to timescales that work for everyone involved, without the need for Court Proceedings.

The collaborative law process:

  • An initial meeting is held between each individual and their chosen collaborative lawyer. Together they will discuss what the individual’s goals and objectives are moving forward. This takes place prior to meeting face to face with their former partner and their collaborative lawyer.

  • Each collaborative lawyer must build a positive relationship with their client and the other party’s collaborative lawyer. This contributes towards the success of the process and ensures the meetings are constructive and worthwhile.

  • Everyone involved in the process is required to sign a participation agreement. This demonstrates that both parties and their legal representatives are committed to the process and it will not go to Court.  

  • At each face to face meeting the collaborative lawyers will guide their party through the process and assist them in reaching a suitable outcome.

  • Both parties must be willing to provide the required information such as financial records, to assist with the process. Honesty and integrity are key.

  • Aside from collaborative lawyers, it may be worthwhile involving other collaboratively trained professionals such as family consultants, financial advisers and accountants.

What is the difference between Collaborative Law and Mediation?

Collaborative law and mediation are two methods of “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. They both set out to resolve any issues that arise as a result of separation and divorce without the need for Court Proceedings.

Mediation

Mediation requires both parties to engage with the same impartial, trained mediator, who will assist them in resolving their disputes. The mediator cannot give legal advice or favour either party, they must remain unbiased. Each party has access to legal advice away from the mediation sessions but do not have legal representation during the meetings.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law enables parties to discuss and agree how financial matters and arrangements for children will be dealt with. Where appropriate, any agreement reached, particularly in respect of financial matters can be made legally binding.

The collaborative law process isn't suitable for all. It requires both parties to be amicable and have similar intentions.  Ideally, both individuals will take a constructive and respectful approach to all aspects of the separation and want to reach an outcome that suits the needs of everyone involved, including the children. The likelihood of success is very dependent on both party’s willingness to cooperate.

Emma Piff, Head of Family Law, is a qualified collaborative lawyer. If you would like to learn more about Collaborative Law and are considering it as an option, get in touch. Call Emma Piff on 0116 212 1000 or email epiff@lawson-west.co.uk

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