What is collaborative family law?

Unfortunately, divorce is something that many of us go through, and no divorce is the same as another. Collaborative family law allows you, the separating couple, to work with lawyers to come to an agreement and achieve a settlement without going to court. It is also almost always a quicker process, beginning to end, than working through the judicial system. It’s important to note that this process is voluntary and requires both parties to be willing to participate. During the collaborative law process, each partner is committed to reaching an agreement without the need for litigation.

How does collaborative family law work?

Divorce is a very stressful and emotional time for all the parties involved, regardless of the circumstances. This stress is often made significantly more intense when court proceedings and lengthy periods of litigation are added too. For these reasons, being able to avoid court and the prolonged litigation times is often the more favourable approach. Collaborative family law is a solution that allows couples to reach an agreement in an amicable, reasoned, and creative manner. It also allows both parties access to their lawyers during every step of the process, which can help in navigating more complex or uncomfortable aspects of the agreement.

Collaborative family law is based on mutual trust. For this solution to work, both parties must be willing to be open and provide full disclosure of all financial matters. During the process, you will work to reach agreements through compromise while respecting any differing opinions that might be present. You will also both be asked to make a commitment that neither of you will resort to using the court system to resolve disputes. Once you have an agreement through the collaborative process, you can still submit a consent order to the court to make your agreement binding and enforceable.

If you opt for the collaborative family law process, each partner will be assisted by a separate solicitor, both of whom will be trained in collaborative law. The solicitors are involved to assist both parties in working through any areas of conflict. Any negotiations that take place will be during four-way settlement meetings, which will be attended by both solicitors and their clients.

You can usually expect at least three of these sessions. In some instances, other family professionals or specialists may be involved – depending on the circumstances. In cases where there are a range of particularly complex emotional, financial and child welfare issues to deal with, there may be a need for more sessions.

How long does the collaborative family law process take?

While every divorce is different and there are many circumstances that can change how the process will be for each couple, collaborative law agreements are generally a much quicker process than court proceedings. You can usually expect to reach collaborative law agreements in about four to five months.

What are the benefits of collaborative family law?

  • When you opt for collaborative family law, you can focus on what is important to you and your family and start resolving matters quickly.
  • When going through the judicial system, the decisions are often out of both parties’ hands and down to external forces – another reason that the collaborative process can be preferable.
  • The collaborative process gives you the freedom to negotiate your financial and/or child agreements while remaining in control and knowing what’s going on at every stage.

Please contact one of our specialist Collaborative family lawyers on 01173751780 who would be happy to discuss the process further with you.

The news articles and blogs contained on this website do not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While Harbour Family Law aims to ensure that the information is correct (for England & Wales) at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. You therefore acknowledge and agree that Harbour Family Law Ltd accept no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss of damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of our website to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.