Collaborative divorce, or collaborative law, offers an alternative to a court drove divorce proceeding. Both parties appoint a family lawyer or solicitor, but rather than going to court, which can prove expensive and lead to a total breakdown in communication, and rather than conducting the process by letter, four-way meetings take place.
A four-way meeting involves both divorcing parties and both solicitors, and it does require amicable communication between the two parties. Its benefits, however, include the potential for keeping costs to a minimum while ensuring that the two parties are still able to communicate following the divorce.
Divorce can get messy, and this can especially be a problem where children are concerned. You and your former partner need to retain open and amicable lines of communication, in order that you can discuss and agree on what is best for your children. You will need to be able to discuss important parenting decisions, such as which schools your children will attend, and come to an agreement on support and access rights. Because the collaborative law requires effective communication, this enables you to start coming to a mutual agreement.
One you start collaborative proceedings, both parties agree not to begin court proceedings, and both parties should agree to work together to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Similar in some respects to mediation, collaborative divorce is considered a better option because the result can become binding, while family lawyers are present in order to ensure that you are aware of the process, that you understand any terms being used, and that your requirements are being met during the agreement stage.
Letters from lawyer to your former partner and back again can be a long-winded and ultimately fruitless exchange. The collaborative law enables you to determine the most important issues much sooner, and this can lead to resolution and agreement being reached a lot quicker too. Because all parties attend the meeting, it also leaves the way open for more imaginative and more flexible solutions and agreements.
Collaborative law is not the best option for everybody. If your relationship has broken down to the extent that you cannot communicate with one another, or if every discussion becomes an argument, then this process is not likely to be successful. Unfortunately, such breakdowns can and do occur, and they will typically end with lawyers having to draw up agreements and may, ultimately, end with the courts making decisions regarding financial matters, as well as matters involving assets and children.
Some divorces are relatively simple, with very few assets involved, and without the need to worry about agreements over child support and access. However, multiple assets, mortgages, joint debts, businesses, and overseas assets, can complicate the process. It is still possible to come to an amicable agreement with your former partner, and using the collaborative law process enables you to come to a beneficial agreement without having to involve the courts. It can also help you to retain an open line of communication, which is especially important if children are involved in the breakup.
Berwick’s Legal is an experienced collaborative law firm, offering family law negotiations and agreement settlement, as well as family lawyers that can represent your interests in court or by letter.