What is Collaborative Family Law?

Why Choose the Collaborative Family Law Approach?

Collaborative family law explained and why it’s right for you.

What is collaborative family law?

‘What is collaborative family law?’ is a question we’re repeatedly asked. Put simply, collaborative family law is a process that enables you and your partner to achieve a mutually agreeable and lasting solution for all your family issues without involving the Court.

You will both have the support, protection and guidance of specially trained collaborative solicitors and other specialists who are as committed to the process working as you are.

What is collaborative family law’s main aim?

The work to achieve an agreement is carried out in meetings where you will both have your solicitor present. The common goal is to reach a settlement against a background of mutual respect.

You may both agree to invite another professional – such as a financial adviser – into the meeting to advise on specific aspects i.e. pensions or making child arrangements.

What are the benefits of the collaborative approach?

  • The pain of the separation is not increased by the legal process

  • The costs will generally be significantly less than going to Court

  • You will have the support of your own collaborative solicitor and other professional advisers as and when you need them, throughout the process

  • When the threat of Court is removed, the fear, delays, uncertainty, stress and animosity is reduced, and maybe removed altogether

  • It’s your agenda – so you talk about the things that matter to you most

  • You set the pace and you are not working to Court timetables. Most times only a couple of meetings are needed, in other cases it could be three, four or five meetings. You will decide how frequently and how many meetings happen

  • You maintain some direct contact with your former partner. That way, you have the best chance of understanding each other, and finding the right solutions

  • If children are involved, you will both remain parents, and it will help your children to cope better with your separation if they see that you are able to agree the arrangements for them and for the future. Child arrangements can also be mutually agreed

  • When specialist advice or support is needed, a single ‘fifth’ neutral can be brought into the process. Their advice is shared directly and openly within a meeting; questions can be raised directly and the possibility of misunderstanding, misinformation and conflicting advice is substantially reduced

How we can help you with a collaborative approach…

Relationship Breakdown

If you intend to divorce or separate, our collaborative approach allows you to deal with the practical issues that arise amid a relationship breakdown.

This can include making child arrangements, financial arrangements and an agreement on what happens to the family home.

Our specialist collaborative divorce lawyers will support and guide you through the process to ensure all issues are resolved in a non-confrontational and constructive manner.

Get in touch with our dedicated collaborative divorce lawyers, now.

Making Child Arrangements

If you have children, your main priority will be protecting them and making sure arrangements are in place which meets their needs. Where you are having difficulty in agreeing on child arrangements with your former partner, we can support you in working together to resolve any dispute.

This may be in relation to such issues as where your children will live when they will spend time with the other parent, which school they will go to or what name they will be known by.

It is better for you to reach an agreement than to let a judge decide, as you know what is best for your children. Our Resolution collaborative law practitioners can help you with applying for a child arrangement order to which you and your partner both consent.

Get in touch today about making child arrangements through the collaborative process.

Prenuptial Agreements

If you have decided, in the event of your relationship breaking down, that you want clarity from the outset about the financial arrangements, or if you have assets which you want to keep, a prenuptial agreement may be the solution.

A dedicated prenuptial agreement lawyer will work with you to agree the terms and think about arrangements for a prenuptial agreement, which would be suitable for achieving the clarity that you desire.

Get in touch today to speak to our specialist prenuptial agreement solicitors.

Money & Property

Having to separate your financial arrangements and divide assets can be daunting. In the collaborative process, we will help you to work through this together, taking everything a step at a time so that you arrive at a fair solution, which is suitable for your family.

Together we will identify the assets, agree values and consider how they can be shared. If specialist advice is needed, for example in respect of pensions, business valuations or tax, we are connected with financial advisers UK-wide to ensure that you get the right advice when you need it most.

We will support you in open discussions about what happens to your marital home, how pensions will be divided and what maintenance may have to be paid and any other aspects of divorce asset division.

We will help you to understand the different options open to you as well as the practical and legal considerations that you need to have.

Working together, we will support you and your partner in finding a fair solution that allows you to both move forward.

How to proceed with the collaborative approach

If you and your partner agree that you want to proceed with the collaborative process, you both need to have instructed collaboratively trained lawyers. This information is available either via Resolution or on our website.

The Collaborative Family Law Group (CFLG) West Midlands team is made up of Resolution accredited family lawyers.

If you have instructed a CFLG solicitor, we will speak with your partner’s solicitor to arrange a first meeting. If your partner has yet to instruct a solicitor we would happily speak to them to explain the benefits of collaborative law and can signpost them to another trained collaborative lawyer.

We will meet with you, ahead of any meeting with your partner and their solicitor, to establish those matters you wish to discuss – what is important to you, and how best to achieve the outcome you are seeking.

The collaborative process is specifically designed to resolve matters between parties without entering an adversarial and often confrontational Court process. As such, an agreement – called a Participation Agreement – is entered into at the start of the process, which stipulates that everyone intends to resolve issues without going to Court.

If an agreement can’t be reached within the collaborative process (and every effort is made to ensure this is not the case), and you decide that you want to take the matter to Court, neither party will be able to instruct the same family solicitor to represent them in Court proceedings as they had in the collaborative process.

What is collaborative family law for clients?

The collaborative approach is very much client-focused and is not driven by a solicitor’s agenda but by your own. It is a far less formal process and a much less stressful way of dealing with your important issues.

Once matters have been agreed between you and your partner, an Order will be drafted which can be filed at Court. Generally speaking, the Courts are happy to fast track these – so you should receive an approved Order sooner than you otherwise would using any other process.

This is a very brief overview of what you can expect to happen. Any one of our collaborative lawyers will give you further details and information.