Collaborative law is a relatively new way of dealing with family disputes.
During the process you appoint your own (collaborative) lawyer but instead of your lawyer conducting negotiations on your behalf by letter or phone, the emphasis is on your lawyers helping you and your former partner to work things out together in face to face meetings.
All collaborative lawyers must be specially trained to carry out collaborative law and are trained by Resolution. Resolution is the specialist organisation for family solicitors in England and Wales.
In collaborative law, your lawyer is with you throughout the process to provide support and legal advice.
As part of the process, you will need to sign an agreement with your lawyer which disqualifies him/her from representing you in Court if the collaborative law process breaks down. You and your former partner and both lawyers sign this agreement and if one of you makes an application to the Court (other than for an agreed order), your lawyers must cease to act for each of you.
The meetings are often called four-way meetings and usually take place in one of the lawyers’ offices. Sometimes only a couple of meetings are needed to resolve matters but this depends on the issues to be discussed and you could need four or five meetings.
The collaborative law agenda followed at each of the meetings will be agreed between you and your former partner (with the assistance of your lawyers) in advance of the meetings.
Once an agreement is reached, your lawyers can help you put it into effect. If the agreement needs to be made into a Court Order, your lawyers can deal with that for you.
Kirsty Reeves is a member of Resolution and trained Collaborative Lawyer. If you are looking for someone to deal with your collaborative case in a calm, sympathetic and professional manner, please contact Kirsty for more information.