Q. I would like to get a divorce but would like to avoid Court proceedings, is the collaborative process suitable for me?
A. Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution to traditional Court proceedings and can be used for any family law related matter. A collaborative lawyer can help those that may not feel they have the necessary negotiation skills to try and resolve matters with a mediator, or may feel concerned trying to negotiate direct with their ex-partner. However, collaborative law is not suitable for everyone. It requires both parties to the divorce to instruct collaboratively trained lawyers who will act on their respective party’s behalf. The dispute is then resolved through face to face meetings referred to as “four-way meetings”. The parties and their lawyers will sign a Participation Agreement committing all involved to resolving the dispute outside of Court. If collaboration fails then the original lawyers will no longer be able to represent you. This should motivate everyone involved to make all efforts to reach an agreed settlement without the threat of Court and the subsequent cost and uncertainty. The cost of the collaborative process is on par with the more traditional route, although it would generally be cheaper than going to Court.
Jane Tatlock is a collaboratively trained family solicitor and is a member of Resolution, a national organisation which believes in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. If you require further information, please contact Jane on 01733 295 619 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org