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Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Family Law is a positive and proactive process whereby everyone’s view is heard, all points are discussed openly and resolution is reached by agreement.

Court proceedings can be very expensive and sometimes drive wedges between family members which may never heal. It will usually force you to adopt positions and as a result, could lead to a blinkered approach instead of taking account of  the best interests of the children or the family as a whole. It also focuses largely on the financial aspects of a case and does not usually involve any dialogue on issues that are crucial to the family.

Collaborative Family Law is an adaptable process that can also help couples who would like to continue in their relationship but, for whatever reason, wish to organise their finances by agreement. This could be a pre-nuptial or mid relationship agreement, a separation agreement; even a Living Together Agreement. It can also be used effectively to discuss and agree arrangements for the children in terms of where they will live and with whom.

Some important facts for you about the process:

  1. To start the process you must both enlist a collaboratively trained lawyer who will work with you to resolve issues
  2. Your lawyers will work together to set up meetings, providing an agenda of things you wish to discuss
  3. You will both write an Anchor Statement, which confirms what you are seeking to achieve throughout the process (this will be revisited if the process is stalled at any time)
  4. The meetings are an informal and open way of discussing issues in a friendly manner. Although some issues will be painful to discuss, your Lawyer will be on hand to help and relationship counsellors can be brought in if it is deemed helpful
  5. You will work towards a ‘Settlement’ agreement which outlines what your family needs. You must be upfront in disclosing assets and financial information prior to this agreement
  6. The process will only work if you have a genuine desire to reach an amicable decision

The benefit of this approach to family law is that relationships are stronger and that, despite a marriage breakdown, a family can continue to work together to make memories.

Although this route is preferred, it is not always successful, depending on your specific circumstances. Coles Solicitors will happily advise you on other routes should this not have the desired outcome.