Collaborative Law is a different way of dealing with divorce/separation which allows couples to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement in a dignified manner without having a decision imposed on them by a judge which both might find unacceptable and often extremely expensive.
In the Collaborative Law process, couples and their lawyers sign an agreement stating that they won't go to Court to resolve the issues between them. If either party wishes to go to Court then both lawyers have to stop acting and new advisors have to be instructed with all that entails in terms of wasted time and cost. This encourages everyone to stay at the table and keep talking knowing that if a solution cannot be achieved then everyone will have to start again.
Another feature of Collaborative Law is that couples set their own agenda and timetable. Neither the court nor the lawyers dictate what issues are to be addressed or how quickly everything has to be done. As a result the issues the couple wish to be dealt with are addressed and this can be done more quickly (or slowly) than the usual court timetable which can take a year or more if everything is contested.
This flexibility allows couples to focus on what they wish to achieve and to look at joint goals (for example, maintaining a business or a property for their children) which sometimes in the traditional process can be relegated and overlooked in the heat of a court battle.
In Collaborative Law, couples are encouraged (and the lawyers trained) to look for areas of common ground as these are the building blocks to a settlement. In tradition litigation, lawyers are trained to differentiate and to highlight things that one spouse has done better or contributed more to than the other, this is less likely to lead to a settlements which are mutually acceptable.
Collaborative lawyers work together as a team to try to find solutions which meet the needs and aspirations of the whole family. Also existing accountants and other advisors can be brought into the process to assist couples rather than new experts being introduced who do not have the benefit of knowledge built up from acting for the family.
At Clarke Willmott we have a great deal of experience in resolving matters collaboratively and have four lawyers in the team trained as collaborative lawyers.
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