The Collaborative approach allows you to set the agenda – so you talk about the things that matter to you most.
One of the major benefits of the Collaborative process is that you and your partner plan as a team in conjunction with your solicitors the agenda for the first and any subsequent meetings. The agenda will always depend on your own individual circumstances.
A typical agenda for a first Collaborative meeting might be:-
- Anchor statements i.e. you and your partner will be invited to share your own reasons for choosing the Collaborative approach, what you want to avoid and what each of you consider to be the best possible outcome.
- Discussing, approving and signing the Participation Agreement.
- Discussion of the divorce process.
- Draft Divorce Petition – agree on contents, the timescale for filing, who is to be Petitioner, costs.
- Discuss financial disclosure and next steps.
- Discuss the way forward for the children – current arrangements and proposed future arrangements.
- Discuss aspirations from the process
- Next steps.
- Arrange date of next four-way meeting.
You set the pace and you are not working to a Court Timetable when using the Collaborative approach.
Very often only a couple of meetings are needed but in other cases, it could be three, four or five meetings.. The key is that you and your partner will decide how frequently and how many meetings are needed.
Within the Collaborative approach you and your partner “own” the Collaborative process and control the timetable. You set the priorities and decide together how quickly or slowly you want to take things. All subsequent meetings will deal with your specific priorities and concerns.
Meetings usually take place at the office of one or the other solicitor and commonly will alternate each time. Both parties appreciate that they can mutually decide they may need a little more time to reach an agreement.
Control is lost if a Judge has to be involved, the outcome of court proceedings is always uncertain and a Judge could take a different view altogether and one which might not be acceptable to either of you.