The breakdown of a relationship is never easy. Regardless of how it arises, confrontation over the terms of separation will make things even more difficult.
Confrontational court proceedings can have a severe impact on you and your family. Lawyers experienced in working with separating couples have created a new, non-confrontational alternative to litigation. It can be used to resolve all aspects of a separation, including the division of assets and the future care of any children.
Collaborative law is a process where a couple engages in a series of open, honest and dignified discussons about the terms of their separation with a view to reaching an agreement tailored to suit their priorities and needs. It allows couples and each of their lawyers to work closely as a team ,with respect for each other, in order to resolve disputes without going to court.
You each have the support and guidance of your own lawyer who is a trained Collaborative Law practitioner. Couples are guided to find fair and sensible solutions for the benefit of their family.
At the outset, the couple and and each of their lawyers all agree in writing that no one will commence Court proceedings as long as negotiations are continuing; each person will be respectful, co-operative and truthful and all four will work together to find amicable solutions.
There will be a series of meetings attended by the couple and their respective lawyers, during which financial information will be exchanged and all aspects of the separation discussed.
In the course of these meetings, everyone is encouraged to reach agreement. Creative solutions tailored to your family's circumstances are encouraged.
Once everyone is in agreement, the lawyers will draw up a formal document which will be submitted to the Court for approval and made into a binding Order.
If agreement isn't reached, new lawyers would have to be appointed to progress matters through court.
There are savings in court filing fees and, in property cases, charges for the court's hearing time, but there will also be further savings.
Significant savings are seen in the reduction of correspondence between lawyers as most things are achieved verbally around a table. Paperwork is generally kept to points of agreement and a list of matters to be discussed at the next meeting.
As well as reducing legal costs, it can reduce the high levels of stress and anxiety which go hand in hand with a relationship breakdown. In many cases, it's not the actual breakdown that does the harm to families, but the damage done by confrontatiion during the separation process.
It is dignified and non-agressive.
Children's interests can be kept at the forefront.
Court costs can be avoided.
You retain control of the process and participate at every stage.
You have your own legal adviser with you throughout.
You avoid potentially acrimonious, stressful and protracted Court proceedings.
You don't let a judge decide on important matters that affect you and your family.
You set the agenda, fix the pace and make decisions that are acceptable to you and therefore avoid the uncertainty of a Court-imposed timetable and outcome.
By reducing the level of confrontation common in Court proceedings, adopting the Collaborative Law approach can help preserve a family relationship.
No, it's not for everyone. Collaborative Law is best considered in cases where neither of you is out to seek revenge.
Call me to discuss if a collaborative approach might be right for you and your partner.