Change the tone of your divorce using Collaborative Law
“For me, training as a Collaborative practitioner was a natural progression from being already an experienced Mediator.
Some couples feel that Mediation is just too overwhelming for them, if they are struggling with the emotional and psychological aspects of divorce and family breakup, and those clients may want some partisan help during the negotiations. They feel they are not able to understand all the financial data, or that they are overpowered by their other spouse – yet they still want to avoid the court process with all the cost and the stress that going to court entails.
So Collaborative Law, with the direct input that the couple have on the process and the supportive atmosphere in which they will be able to conduct their divorce, becomes a very appealing option. Not to mention the fact that it can also save them a great deal of money by avoiding an adversarial approach.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a process where each party has a lawyer but the lawyers are not opponents. I always describe them a colleagues. They work together to help the couple to find solutions to their situation. So there’s no sub plot, there’s no bartering – all the usual things people associate with separate lawyers. And the key reason for that is because all 4 participants – the couple and their respective Collaborative Lawyers – sign a contract saying that the court system is “Not for us. We are going to deal with this honestly, face to face, in a much better way. We are going to find a solution that’s good for the family.” The lawyers are there to support the couple in that resolution.
For me there is nothing more rewarding than working well with another lawyer who is working with you, and not against you. To work with the other party’s lawyer, dealing with the couple respectfully and in a trustworthy manner that is a good feeling for everyone concerned.
What happens if the process breaks down?
A key thing about Collaborative Law is that if the process breaks down – and I should say at this point, it never has for me – then the parties need to sack the lawyers and start again, possibly on a court-based route. So the emphasis is on making the process work – the lawyers because they don’t want to lose clients, the clients because they don’t want to start all over again. And that’s a very important aspect of the Collaborative process.
If there is a sticking point during the Collaborate process there are all sorts of things you can do. You can involve other professionals, or you could jointly instruct a Collaborative barrister for an opinion or invite them to join in the process. You could even send the couple away for Mediation. You can move in and out of different process options.
At the moment you can’t leave the Collaborative process with the same lawyers and go into family arbitration. The reason for that is family arbitration is seen as a form of adjudication – a form of litigation – which is the thing that you’ve expressly said you won’t do when following the Collaborative process. Now whether that remains the case is something that is being debated at the moment. I think most family professionals want clients to be offered the services that they seek, without being purist about any of it, so I rather suspect there will be many changes on the horizon from that respect.
I think if you’re choosing Collaborative Law, for most couples the tone on which they end their relationship is the key factor. If you ask them why they have used that process, they will usually say it’s because they want to nurture friendship and respect, and because they put their children first. For the vast majority of couples, it’s for those reasons.
I frequently see people who have taken the court route and been shocked at how long it takes, the high financial cost, and that the relationship with their Ex becomes one of never wanting to speak to them again. In comparison to that, with Collaborative Law, you are in charge of the timetable, and it can be a much smoother emotional process.”
If you would like to find out more about how the divorce mediation process, please contact Kim Beatson by phone for a no-obligation conversation on 020 7940 4011 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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