what is collaborative law?
Collaborative lawyers keep you out of court. In fact, you can’t go to court if you use a collaborative lawyer. Should negotiations break down between both parties, and a couple decide to go to court, then they have to get different lawyers to represent them. The advantage of this is that collaborative lawyers have a huge incentive (as do the couple) to find a sustainable and acceptable agreement on all matters relating to the divorce.
Collaborative law differs from using only mediators mainly in that the couple have immediate access to legal advice ‘on tap’ during the sessions. So if you wanted to pop out of the room and have a private chat with your collaborative lawyer, that would be fine, which is not so easily the case with mediation as the mediator must remain completely impartial. So it’s like having someone helping you ‘in your corner’, which can be useful, but also it must be remembered that the collaborative process thrives on the same elements as mediation does – full financial disclosure, and clear communication.
Just because someone is trained in collaborative law does not mean they always work ‘collaboratively’ and it is important to choose your collaborative lawyer carefully. This is of course the same with choosing a mediator or any other professional. Make sure they share your commitment and passion to the positive outcomes of your divorce or break up such as a strong parenting partnership agreement or being comfortable that the final financial settlement was fair.
You are in charge or your divorce, not the lawyers. There are some excellent professionals out there, so don’t just settle for someone who has the job title if you don’t really feel confident that they will be someone you want to work with.
You can contact some collaborative lawyers direct to find out more through our Expert Directory: Collaborative Lawyers
How can an amicable breakup really be possible. Suzy Miller is interviewed on BBC Radio with her story of how it can be done.