Lauren Preedy – Senior Solicitor – Head of 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.

 

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.

Bridget Garrood – Senior Consultant Solicitor – Divorce/ Finance/ LGBT+ Specialist

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.

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

Fiona Griffin – Senior Consultant Solicitor – Divorce/ Finance Specialist

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

Parental alienation in the news again

The difficult subject of parental alienation has been back in the news this week, featuring both in a television documentary and a national newspaper opinion piece.

Read more
Financial remedies: don’t help yourself to your spouse’s documents

It is often the case that when someone is getting divorced, or when their marriage is breaking down, they still have access to their spouse’s private financial documents, whether physical documents, or documents held on a computer.

Read more
Will family mediation become mandatory?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution, alternative to court proceedings (such alternatives to court are known as ‘alternative dispute resolution’ or ADR). Mediation consists of the parties meeting with a trained mediator, who will help

Read more
The Resolutions Model: getting a child back from care

The Resolutions Model is the name given to an arrangement whereby a child may be returned to their parent, despite the fact that the parent denies causing an injury to the child or its sibling.

Read more
Domestic Abuse Commissioner calls for more support for abuse victims

A new report has revealed that 89 per cent of domestic abuse survivors don’t get any support when they go through the family courts. The report was prepared by SafeLives, a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, and commission

Read more
Welcome Paul Sykes – Leading Children Law Solicitor

Paul is one of the Leading Children Law Solicitor in the South West and has spent his entire legal career with Somerset based solicitors. Paul is particularly well known and respected by all family law practitioners in Somerset.

Read more
We are recruiting – Business Development Manager/ Marketing Manager/ (Full Time) – Fantastic Opportunity

Despite the very significant challenges in the wider world, the last 18 months have seen us grow from being a small to medium size legal practice. In this time we have significantly strengthened our legal team and turnover has doubled.

Read more
A further illustration of the consequences of lying to the court

It is a common complaint in family proceedings, especially financial remedy cases sorting out finances on divorce, that the other party has ‘got away’ with lying to the court. It is true that the family court will not always take action in

Read more
Important changes to child maintenance system proposed

The payment of child maintenance is one of the biggest issues of contention between separated parents, affecting huge numbers of children. Over the years the government has made various attempts to improve and perfect the child maintenance

Read more
Courts Service sets out role of remote hearings

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (‘HMCTS’), which is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales, has given an indication of the role of remote court hearings

Read more
No-fault divorce delayed until 2022

The Government has announced that the new system of no-fault divorce, which it had previously indicated would come into force in the autumn, will not now do so until spring next year.

Read more
Large increase in new-born babies subject to care proceedings

New research has found that there has been a large increase in the number of new-born babies (i.e. babies under 2 weeks old) in England and Wales subject to care proceedings.

Read more