Collaborative Law is a recent approach by specially trained and accredited family lawyers nationwide to manage divorce in a more dignified way.
Here at Bonallack and Bishop we are big fans of the Collaborative Law divorce process as well as Family Mediation, and have had some of our family law team trained up and covering our Salisbury, Amesbury, Fordingbridge and Andover offices as Collaborative Lawyers for some years now. Our lawyers deal with Collaborative Law cases throughout Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire.
We are convinced that the Collaborative Law and mediation approaches is the future for divorce work for many people – with sensitive, specially trained collaborative Family Lawyers working together to sort out problems quickly and cheaply, avoiding the stress, delay and confrontational approach that any court application involves.
Don’t forget that our family law team offer FREE phone advice and a FREE 30 minutes interview.
How Collaborative Law works
- All parties unusually agree in writing to reach a divorce settlement without Court involvement – agreeing to work together to sort out issues regarding both money and children.
- In face to face meetings with both husband, wife and their respective lawyers, both of whom must be trained in Collaborative Law.
- Clients remain in control of the process with lawyers there throughout for legal advice and guidance. Using their skills in negotiation and problem-solving, collaborative family lawyers help clients shape a fair agreement.
- If settlement cannot be reached then both husband and wife must appoint new firms of solicitors to deal with the Court proceedings. There is therefore a strong incentive for both clients and solicitors to reach a fair settlement.
- Correspondence between lawyers is discouraged, keeping down costs and helping parties sort out separation in an amicable way.
- Unlike Family Mediation, where a mediator usually advises both parties with lawyers excluded from much of the mediation process, in Collaborative Law both parties have their own lawyer present at a series of four-way meetings attended by both clients and their respective lawyers. Therefore, the lawyers are present throughout the process. Please note that we also have 2 jointly qualified family lawyers/mediators as part of our 5 strong family law team.
Click here to find out more about how Family Mediation works
Our Collaborative Law solicitors can see you in our Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge or Amesbury offices.
7 Good Reasons To Choose Collaborative Family Law
The collaborative law approach to family law has gained a lot of ground in recent years. But why should you consider this approach if you find yourself needing a divorce settlement?
1 – It’s non-aggressive. As the name suggests, the collaborative approach is all about working together to find a solution that suits all parties.
2 – It retains all the benefits of having a divorce lawyer on your side, particularly important if you don’t feel up to the task of negotiating on your own behalf.
3 – Collaborative Law is especially suitable for those who need to put their children’s interests first. This is often an area of common ground that can be built upon very successfully with the collaborative approach.
4 – It avoids the lingering bitterness of dragging the process through court. If your relationship is still reasonably amicable, and you want it to remain that way, then you should definitely consider a collaborative divorce settlement.
5 – It lets you to keep control of your financial arrangements, whilst still giving you access to expert legal advice.
6 – It gives you back a measure of control over your own divorce – something that can be all too easily lost in traditional, lawyer-led divorce proceedings.
7 – It’s a way to avoid, or at least minimise, the bitterness that can arise if either party tries to seek revenge on the other.
Divorce is never going to be easy or pleasant, but the collaborative family law approach is a way of giving you back as much dignity and control as possible.
Collaborative Law and Family Mediation – What’s The Difference?
The terms “family mediation” and “collaborative law” are often used interchangeably. However, they’re both quite separate approaches to resolve family law and divorce problems – and it’s important to understand the difference between them.
- Is all about facilitating discussion and finding common ground for a settlement.
- The mediator acts as a completely independent and impartial third party, providing a neutral point of view for the benefit of both parties. They are not there to offer legal advice, and could not do so even if they wanted to.
- Indeed, family mediation is a part of family law that involves the parties own lawyers, to a lesser degree – these lawyers tend to be consulted after the mediation has taken place.
- The lawyers will then advise on the results of the discussions, which, provided that an agreement has been reached by the parties, will form the basis of a settlement, drafted by the family lawyers, to be ratified by the court.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that when it comes to family law and divorce, jointly qualified family lawyers/mediators often provide the best sort of mediation – because they really understand the workings family law and the kind of issues that need to be considered by the parties.
- This approach, on the other hand, involves lawyers from the very beginning.
- Both sides will have their own specially trained and accredited specialist collaborative lawyers who will attend round table meetings with both lawyers and their clients
- Those lawyers will then continue advise throughout the process, make a case for their client and negotiate a settlement.
- Each lawyer will be able to draw up the divorce settlement and present it to the court – something that a mediator is not able to do.
Collaborative Law and Family Mediation – What’s Right for You?
Whether you choose a family mediator or the collaborative approach is very much down to your individual requirements and circumstances. If relations with your ex are still reasonably good and the lines of communication are still open, then family mediation may be the best.
But, if there is an imbalance of power between the parties, or there has been a history of bullying or domestic violence, then family mediation may be appropriate – as you and your ex will be supported by your own collaborative lawyers in every round table meeting.
In any event, our experienced family law team contains qualified collaborative lawyers and family mediators – just call any one of our four offices in Salisbury, Amesbury, Andover or Fordingbridge for a free initial no commitment chat about whether family mediation or collaborative law might suit you.
Collaborative law accreditation for other professionals
When it comes to the collaborative law, it’s not just your solicitor who can be trained and accredited in the collaborative law process. So what other professions can receive collaborative law accreditation?
- Independent financial advisers. Apart from solicitors, IFA’s are the most commonly accredited collaborative law professionals – they are often invaluable when it comes to helping create a successful financial settlement package for both partners to move on set up two individual households, where family monies were only supporting one previously
- Accountants – accountants are often a very important part of the divorce process, when it comes to finances – especially if there is a business involved. A very small number of accountants are Collaborative Law accredited
- Barristers. A few specialist family barristers have also undergone the training. However, unless things change, there may be only be limited need for collaborative law trained barristers – after all, the whole point of the collaborative law process is to avoid going to court in the first place, and unless your case is exceptional and perhaps involves a very, very sizeable amount of money, a collaborative law trained solicitor is probably all you need to deal with running your case and negotiating an agreed settlement in face-to-face meetings
Collaborative Lawyers also work with other professionals who, though not formally trained and accredited in collaborative law, share the same collaborative law ethos– including family relationship consultants and coaches.