The Collaborative law process is a non-confrontational method of dealing with divorce and other areas of family law without having to go to court. It can only be used if both parties agree to the collaborative law process and are willing to work together to reach an agreement, with the help of third parties to advise and guide them.
Collaborative law can be a useful for resolving issues relating separation, finances, children, finances and divorce.
The collaborative law process has been proven to have a success rate of 85% as a result of the process being specifically structured to facilitate the chance of a successful settlement being reached. Collaborative law also benefits from lawyers who are specially trained to enable a non-confrontational agreement.
The collaborative law process is number of face to face meetings between you, your partner and both of your representatives who will be collaboratively trained solicitors. The idea of these meetings is that you will all work together to negotiate and find solutions to the issues which are acceptable to all parties.
When starting the process, your solicitors will make sure that everyone understands the process and you will both sign an agreement committing to the collaborative law process. Following this, an agenda is then set at the first meeting. This should outlines what the issues to be resolved are. It is critical that both you and your partner are committed to finding a negotiated settlement using this process.
Once an agenda is set you will then go on to discuss the issues raised, with the guidance of your solicitors, at a series of meetings. Once you both agree that a solution has been reached, a settlement agreement will be drafted and you will both asked to sign the agreement.
If it is a financial agreement, this has to be filed with the court for a judge to approve. Once approved the agreement becomes a binding court order.
Collaborative law is free from court imposed timescales so provides a major benefit with regards to the length of the process. You and your partner are in control of the speed of the agreement. The more willing you both are to reach a compromise, the quicker the process can be.
As you and your partner will both have your own solicitor who is collaboratively trained you will incur costs at your solicitor’s rate. This is critical to ensure that you both receive independent advice.
The overall cost of the process is defined by the length of time spent on reaching an agreement. The earlier an agreement is reached, the lower the legal fees will be. One of the major benefits of collaborative law over a traditional divorce process is the removal of court fees.
It is possible to include the costs as one of the issues to resolve at the beginning of the process. This will allow for negotiations to be held around who should pay the legal fees.
People who choose the collaborative law process are usually confident that they can both be reasonable enough to reach a negotiated settlement.
If however, an agreement cannot be reached, the collaborative solicitors have to withdraw from the process and disqualify themselves from future litigation. You and your partner would then have to instruct new solicitors to take you down the traditional court route.
If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.