Separating Together – Collaborative Family Law Explained

Traditionally, when couples separate, they each take independent advice from specialist family lawyers and try to reach agreement over how to best settle their differences.  Where couples cannot reach agreement, it is left to the family courts to decide, which can lead to heartache and uncertainty.  Collaborative family law is different.

You and your spouse or partner sit down together in the same room with the help of your own, specially trained collaborative lawyer, and you work it out, face-to-face.  Rather than dealing through your family lawyers, you work with them to reach the best solution possible for you and your family.

The real cost of relationship breakdown is not merely financial, although anyone who has been through the process will know how costly court battles over splitting assets can be.  It is also the personal and emotional turmoil that so often accompanies the end of relationships. An acrimonious divorce can leave lasting scars, not just on the separating couple, but on their children, their extended family and support network.

Is the collaborative approach to divorce or separation right for me?

Listed below are 5 things you should know about collaborative family law before choosing this option:

  1. It is a form of dispute resolution for separating couples who need strong legal representation, but want to avoid going to court. Crucially, you and your partner agree in advance not to take matters to court and sign an agreement to that effect.
  1. You each appoint your own lawyer but instead of negotiating by letter or phone you meet your partner together with your lawyers to try and reach agreement face to face.
  1. Unlike a traditional divorce, collaborative family law offers a team based approach including not only your divorce lawyer but also, where appropriate, a financial adviser to advise on the financial implications of any agreements or a family consultant who can support you and your children through what is understandably an emotionally difficult period.
  1. Collaborative family law is different from Mediation because a Mediator does not advise or represent you or your partner and you each will need to seek advice from your own lawyers during the process in any event.
  1. The process can be more successful in the long term than a traditional court based approach as you and your partner are more likely to adhere to agreements reached between you through negotiations rather than having ones imposed on you by the court. It also helps to reduce the heartache and conflict which sometimes go hand in hand with a separation or marriage breakdown.

To find out more, contact our collaborative family law expert, Simon Thomas, on 0844 567 2222, send an email to  Quote this article before the end of December 2015, then your first 30 minute consultation will be free of charge.

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