We’ve all heard how acrimonious separation and divorce can be; after all, it’s understandable that there may be feelings of hurt, anger and bitterness.
Sometimes this leads to intractable disputes which can only be resolved by the intervention of a court. If the court takes over, it may impose a solution which neither party really wants, leaving you feeling helpless and dissatisfied with the whole process.
Well, there is an alternative – known as “collaborative law”.
Traditionally, when couples split up, each takes independent advice from a family lawyer, and working through their lawyers they try to reach an agreement on how best to settle their differences. The parties lawyers negotiate on their behalf … how to share the money and property of the marriage, or how to care for the children after the separation.
In collaborative law, instead of the parties solicitors negotiating on their behalf, the parties and their solicitors sit down together to work things out face-to-face, to find a solution which works for everybody.
Of course to make this work requires people with the right frame of mind, and expert family lawyers who have been trained to work in this way.
You and your partner will need to share a desire to make this work, to find a solution to your problems rather than simply arguing about what you want or what you think you’re entitled to.
For those who have a genuine desire, this approach can be hugely successful; you remain in control of the process; you set the agenda, so you talk about the things that matter to you most; you set the pace, so you’re not bound by court dates or obligations to file documents with the court. You will still have the benefit of expert legal advice, and ultimately the key decisions remain yours to make.
Simon Nellar is a collaborative family lawyer and would be happy to tell you more about the process.