Lauren Preedy – Head of our Divorce Team

Choosing Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Family Law or the collaborative process is a process through which couples are able to resolve the issues arising from the divorce or separation by agreement and through sensible face-to-face negotiation which is backed by a commitment not to commence court proceedings.

There are helpful pages About Collaborative Family Law on the website of Resolution: https://resolution.org.uk/looking-for-help/splitting-up/your-process-options-for-divorce-and-dissolution/the-collaborative-process/ and Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_law

The starting point for Collaborative Family Law/the Collaborative Process is that the couple together with their solicitors will sign a contract called the Participation Agreement. This is a commitment to resolve issues by agreement and not to go to court.

Writing long letters is avoided. Negotiations are conducted face-to-face.

There follow a series of four-way meetings attended by each of the couple and their solicitors.

Additional professionals can join the meetings where it is helpful. These can include financial planners, accountants, child consultants, mediators.

 

Bridget Garrood; Divorce specialist and Collaborative Family Lawyer

A problem-solving approach.

The approach taken is very much a problem-solving approach.

The couple commit in the participation agreement that if the collaborative process breaks down then if there are going to make an application to the court – they will need to instruct different solicitors. This discourages everyone from undermining the process.

It is therefore important that care is taken when deciding whether a case is suitable for the Collaborative Process/Collaborative Family Law or not.

Quite clearly – cases where there is very high conflict and where for example one of the couple is not being honest about their financial situation are unlikely to be suitable for the collaborative process.

Experienced professionals working together

What is particularly important in ensuring that a collaborative process can work is that there are good working relationships between the divorce solicitors. This is necessary because each needs to trust that the other will be giving their client sensible advice so that unreasonable and unrealistic positions in the negotiations are avoided. Everyone should be working together to find a fair outcome which is the best that can be achieved for everyone in the family.

Active Collaborative Practitioners regularly meet in groups called PODs (Practice and Organisation Development Groups) where practitioners will undertake training and share experiences from practice. This also assists practitioners knowing each other well and improves professional relationships.

Negotiation through Collaborative Family Law/the Collaborative Process are very much about trying to find win/win solutions.

The collaborative process was created in the USA in 1990. The Collaborative Process came to the UK in 2003. In England and Wales Collaborative Family Law is overseen by Resolution.

Fiona Griffin

Fiona Griffin: Divorce specialist and Collaborative Family Lawyer

Collaborative Family Law in the the South-West

Collaborative law came to the South-West in 2005 when our founder Ian Walker persuaded Resolution to run two Collaborative Family Law foundation training courses in Devon. Those who trained formed the initial core of Collaborative Family Lawyers in the South-West.

Ian Walker and Bridget Garrood who is a consultant solicitor in our divorce team were both trained in this initial South-West training and have both been active members of the Devon Pod ever since.

Within our team, Lauren Preedy who is head of our Divorce Team and divorce specialist Fiona Griffin are also Collaborative Family Lawyers. This gives us one of the biggest teams of Collaborative Family Lawyers in the South-West.

A very good process

In our view – Collaborative Family Law is potentially the best process for family dispute resolution in most financial cases. This is because it is a very constructive process. Mediation isn’t always successful with divorce finance cases because of disclosure problems or because one or both of the couple struggle to say yes when it comes to agreeing the final deal. Clients are better supported through the collaborative process in our view.

If you want to know more – and how the Collaborative Process can help you – give us a call…

Latest News

Family Mediator/Lawyer Mediator wanted

Award-winning South-West family law and mediation practice seeking mediator to join our team. Lawyer mediators and specialist mediators considered. Range of employment options. Join a friendly team and progressive practice.

Read more
We are now able to assist clients in Yeovil

I am very pleased to announce that we are now able to assist clients in Yeovil. We now have access to a consulting room the White House, Hendford Hill, Yeovil BA20 2RF. This is located near to Yeovil town centre. There is a map below.

Read more
I want a divorce where do I begin?

You’ve come to the painful conclusion that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You want a divorce, but where do you start? The situation can seem overwhelming. Your entire life appears to hang in the balance: with whom you live...

Read more
Can divorce ever be easy?

It’s a simple question, and one that, one suspects, often goes through the mind of those involved in, or contemplating, divorce. Divorce has a reputation for being one of the most difficult and stressful things anyone has to go through duri

Read more
What if the judge is biased against me?

It is obviously important not only that a judge is not biased, but that they are not perceived to be possibly biased. If a party considers that the judge dealing with their case is biased against them then they may ask the judge to ‘recuse

Read more
Child transferred to father in parental alienation case

We have written here previously about the emotive subject of parental alienation, where one parent alienates a child against the other parent. As we explained in that post, if the court finds that alienation has taken place then it can orde

Read more
The relevance of the child’s wishes in disputes over child arrangements

Very often in disputes between parents over arrangements for a child the child will have a useful input, which can be an important factor when considering what the best arrangements should be. But when and how are the child’s wishes taken..

Read more
How to choose a family lawyer – Ian Walker

Everyone looking for a family lawyer wants to choose the best one they can. But if you’ve never instructed one before, how should you go about finding the best lawyer for you? These days there is a great deal of information available about

Read more
Big news! Welcome to Bridget Garrood; Hello new Head Office; New locations! New Website!

2019 has been a massive year for Ian Walker Family Law Solicitors. This article brings you up to date with our latest developments. These include highly respected divorce solicitor Bridget Garrood joining our team and our office move

Read more
Are divorce settlements taxable? – Ian Walker

Are divorce settlements taxable? The tax treatment of divorce settlements is something that concerns many people who are going through divorce. However, as we will see, in most cases there is only really one tax issue that should be of concern. Before we get to that, let us very quickly consider some other tax issues […]

Read more
Family courts to be overhauled to protect abuse victims

It has been another big week for family law news. Following the passing through parliament last week of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (which has now received the Royal Assent), the government has this week announced a major

Read more
No fault divorce law passes through parliament

In arguably the most important development in family law in this country in the last thirty years, the Government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, which will bring in a system of no-fault divorce, has passed through both houses

Read more