Collaborative law is a way for couples separating or divorcing to deal with the family breakdown in a dignified and respectful manner with the aim to avoid going to court.
At Davis Blank Furniss our collaborative solicitors are a team of registered specialists who can support you during this alternative divorce process. With the experience to help couples who want to separate outside of court proceedings, our solicitors handle each case with compassion and care, helping you to reach a fair conclusion where all issues are amicably resolved.
What is the collaborative approach to divorce?
You each have a collaborative solicitor working on your behalf, where all issues and disputes are addressed in four way meetings. The face-to-face conferences allow the collaborative solicitors to share information with your spouse as well as explore and negotiate the problems.
By giving you the opportunity to resolve issues in person rather than through letters, phone calls and court proceedings, you can reach a conclusion that is workable and mutually acceptable. One where you have both been instrumental in achieving the outcome and within a supported environment.
Key benefits of collaborative law
Along with helping couples to achieve a more informed conclusion through face-to-face negotiations, collaborative law can also reduce the divorce process. A collaborative divorce will usually be finalised in less than six months, while traditional proceedings can take between 12 and 18 months.
The honest and open discussions between both parties and their collaborative solicitors - where all opinions and suggestions are heard - can also prevent insensitive conduct and practices, which can cause further anguish and hostility. This can make a collaborative divorce a particularly good option for separating couples with children, as you have a chance to talk through childcare arrangements and maintain a good relationship with your spouse.
How is it different to Lawyer Supported Mediation?
Collaborative law is different from Lawyer Supported Mediation as it provides separating couples with a greater degree of lawyer support than the mediation model. Your solicitor is present at every meeting and the process is completely flexible, meaning that it can be tailored to the needs and requirements of you and your spouse.
When is it best to use the collaborative approach?
We fully understand that the collaborative approach works best for certain separating couples. So your dedicated lawyer at Davis Blank Furniss will take time to listen carefully to your circumstances and to determine the most suitable route for you.
It is often found that the collaborative solicitors can help with the following issues:
- Resolving financial settlements
- Pre and postnuptial agreements
- Disputes for separating cohabiting couples
- Disagreements related to childcare arrangements, such as residence (custody) and contact (access) for both parents and other family members
- Termination of civil partnerships and related financial settlements
- Dissolution of cohabitation or "living together" agreements
- Financial settlements for children that don't require the Child Support Agency
If you don't think that collaborative law is right for you or our legal team believe that there is another process that is more suitable, Davis Blank Furniss handles all other divorce approaches and will be able to recommend the best way forward for you throughout proceedings.