Collaborative Family Law

_MG_5336Collaborative Family Law is a family dispute resolution process was introduced to England and Wales by Resolution (Formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association) in 2003/2004

The first Collaborative Family Law training in Devon took place in 2005.  Ian Walker had wanted to train, so he persuaded Resolution to run a training course in Devon, and he persuaded other Devon Solicitors to train as well. There are now around 40 collaboratively trained Solicitors in Devon.

Only Lawyers who have completed the training, attended meetings with fellow Collaborative Family Lawyers and undertaken a set amount of training each year are able to Practice. Here is the  Website of Devon Collaborative Family Lawyers which is the grouping of Collaborative Family Lawyers covering East Devon, Exeter, Torbay and North Devon.

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative Law is sort of a cross between Mediation and traditional Solicitor/Solicitor meetings (Round table meetings)

The key feature is that the couple sign a contract agreeing to resolve all issues from their separation/divorce through Collaborative Family Law, through courteous and constructive negotiation and  without going to Court.

If the Collaborative Family Law Process breaks down, the couple can still go to Court, but they have to find new Lawyers, and essentially have to do everything from scratch.

The Collaborative Family Law Process

With collaborative law process, each person appoints their own collaboratively trained Solicitor.

The separating couple and their Solicitors sign an agreement that commits them all to trying to resolve the issues without going to court. This is called the “participation agreement”. In fact the agreement prevents the Solicitors from representing their clients in court if the collaborative process breaks down.

This means that everybody is absolutely committed to finding the best solutions by agreement, rather than through court proceedings.

The Solicitors avoid sending letters between sessions.

If any extra information is needed, then it is agreed how this is best to be obtained.

Other professionals can be brought in if needed, such as financial planners, Mediators, child consultants.

Everyone works together as a team to find a solution acceptable to both clients.

Click here for some good content on Collaborative Family Law on the Resolution Website

Is Collaborative Family Law right for you?

Some people are put off by the idea that if a solution cannot be found, that they have to find a new solicitor. This anxiety is understandable, but the whole point is that for it to work, everyone has to be committed to finding a solution together.

When we meet a new client we will discuss with them which process will best assist them to resolve their dispute.

Because the Solicitors are involved at every stage, this can be a less stressful process for clients than Mediation; however it also tends to be more expensive than mediation. It is perhaps better equipped to deal with financial cases, and certainly more complicated financial cases.

Sometimes clients like to have a joint meeting before signing the participation agreement to get a better idea of whether it will work for them. This can be a good idea.

A good working relationship between  the Solicitors is a key component to the success of the Collaborative Family Law Process. Collaborative Family Law is governed by Resolution. Ian Walker has practiced in Devon for over 15 years and has served on the Committee of Devon Resolution for 8 years including as the elected Chair and Treasurer. As Solicitors, we know each other. Have confidence that we will make it work for you.

Collaborative Law is not just for divorce

Collaborative Law is not just for divorce. It can also be helpful when a couple are considering having a Prenuptial Agreement. This is because different advice can be shared and the couple can be assisted in making the right decision for them, together.

Collaborative Family Law in East Devon

There are several Collaborative Family Lawyers in East Devon including in Honiton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary and Exmouth, so it is possible to set up a Collaborative Law process without having to go into Exeter. But in any case we have branch offices in Exeter and Taunton, and we can meet anywhere within a reasonable range.