Collaborative law is a relatively new approach to resolving family legal problems. The aim is to deliver an amicable out of court settlement that achieves the best possible outcome for the whole family – and to avoid, or minimise, the damage that can be done by going to court.
We have two collaborative lawyers at Cozens-Hardy - Jane Anderson, one of the most experienced Family lawyers in the region, and Sophie Smith.
How the collaborative process works
The collaborative process is based on confidential face-to-face meetings between you, your partner and your respective, specially qualified collaborative lawyers.
At the outset both lawyers and the individuals involved sign an agreement to achieve resolution without applying to court. You all sit around a table, discuss the issues and agree the terms of your separation or divorce. You decide what is discussed, and the pace at which things progress – you are in complete control of the process. Correspondence is kept to a minimum and the aim is for things to be dealt with in an open, dignified and constructive way.
Matters dealt with typically include financial issues arising from separation and divorce and issues concerning children. Collaborative law is particularly helpful for couples with children, where it is advantageous to maintain a good working relationship in the future; the reality is that dealing with a separation amicably can help maintain better relations between ex-partners and is less traumatic for the children involved...
When agreement is reached, a formal document is prepared and if appropriate a court order can be applied for by post.
If the collaborative process breaks down, you still have the option of applying to court. However, neither of the collaborative lawyers will be able to represent you. Both you and your partner will have to engage new solicitors, or represent yourselves. This provides an incentive to make the process succeed.
Relationship breakdown will always involve financial and emotional costs. Collaborative law tries to minimise those costs for all concerned.