We are able to offer to you a new way of dealing with family disputes, which is through the collaborative law process.
What is collaborative law?
Each person appoints their own solicitor but instead of conducting negotiations between you and your partners by letter or phone you meet together to work things out face to face.
Each of you will have your solicitor who will be by your side throughout the entire process and therefore you will benefit from legal advice as you go. The aim of collaborative law is to resolve family disputes without going to Court.
How does the collaborative process work?
Once you have both met with your respective solicitors, discussed the different options and the processes available and decided that the collaborative process is for you then your solicitor and your partner’s solicitor will speak to each other and arrange the first meeting.
The first four way meeting:
Collaborative meetings are referred to as ‘four way’ meetings as they are meetings between the four of you– you, your partner and your respective solicitors.
At the first four way meeting the solicitors will make sure that you both understand tat you are making a commitment to working out an agreement without going to court and you will all sign an agreement to this effect.
You and your partner will be invited to share your own objectives in choosing this process and you will all plan the agenda for the next meeting. This will depend on your own individual circumstances but might typically include a discussion about how the children are responding to the separation. If time permits you may also go on to discuss how financial information will be shared and agree on who will bring what financial information to the next meeting.
Subsequent four way meetings:
Subsequent meetings will deal with you and your partner’s particular priorities and concerns. You might, for instance, look at involving other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning or people training to assist children in understanding and copying with the changes that your divorce or separation will bring to their lives. The meetings will enable you to reach agreement on how finances will be shared or what arrangements need to be made for any children.
The final meeting:
In the final meeting documents detailing the agreements you have reached will be signed and your solicitors will talk you through anything else that needs to be done in order to implement those agreements. Sometimes a firm timetable for implementation will not be possible, for instance, if the family house needs to be sold.
How long does the collaborative process take?
One of the benefits of collaborative process is that it’s not driven by a timetable imposed by the court. So to a large extent the process can be built around your family’s individual timetable and priorities.
For more information on the collaborative law process please visit: www.bedscollaborativelaw.co.uk
The Head of the Family Team, Claire Trundley, is a trained an experienced collaborative law practitioner and will be able to assist you.