Collaborative Family Rights

What is Collaborative law?

Collaborative law is a voluntary dispute resolution process which is used as an alternative to Court proceedings whereby the parties in a family law dispute separately instruct collaboratively trained solicitors

The dispute is resolved by without prejudice negotiations which are conducted through four-way meetings between the parties and their solicitors.

This method allows the parties to retain control over the process and the choice to settle the dispute as well as its terms.

When is Collaborative law suitable?

Collaborative law is suitable for any family of relationship related issues:

  • Cohabitation agreement as well as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Financial disputes concerning children, spouses or civil partners on separation, breakdown on marriage or civil partnership
  • Property disputes regarding former cohabitees
  • Financial arrangements for children of unmarried parents on separation.

Collaborative law is not suitable in cases involving domestic violence, unrepresented parties and significant imbalance of power within the relationship.

Advantages of collaborative law

Collaborative law promotes improvement within the relationship between the parties.

Less time-consuming and expensive than the Court process.

Gives the parties and the lawyers greater control over the timetable.

Process

  • Instruct a collaborative law lawyer who has received training from Resolution or any other accredited body
  • Lawyer will assess the client suitability and if there are no concerns, they will prepare an anchor statement which will remain as a reminder to the parties of the priorities when entering the collaborative law process.
  • During the meetings lawyers ensure that the parties are clear about the process and what each meeting will entail. Parties will enter into a participation agreement to confirm the commitment to the collaborative law process and if there is a need for assistance from a neutral third party this will be elected by agreement. Finally, the parties will agree the timetable for the process and for the next meeting.
  • After each meeting, the parties should obtain legal advice from their lawyers and discuss the findings of the meeting.
  • Resolution may be reached after several meetings and the parties will incorporate the agreement into a draft minute of consent order, which will be approved and endorsed by the court. However, if it is evident that no resolution will be reached, the parties may terminate the process mutually under the participation agreement.

After the process

Consensus is achieved

Any settlement formed using this process must be converted into a Court Order to make it binding on the parties.

Lawyers will draft necessary documents, which will be submitted to the Court for the Court’s approval.

No consensus

If there is no settlement as a result of the process, the lawyers will cease to act, and the process may come to an end. Parties may consider litigation as another way of resolving their matrimonial disputes, although such decision should be taken carefully due to considerable costs and stress involved.