Collaborative Law is an alternative process which is used to resolve disputes between separating couples. Collaborative Law is different because the separating couple and the Collaborative Lawyers all sign an agreement which disqualifies them from making an application to Court.
If the Collaborative process breaks down, the Collaborative Lawyers are then disqualified from representing you in court and the separating couple will need to instruct new lawyers to represent them. This gives a huge incentive to reach an agreement without the stress and costs of a Court application, and without the threat of a Court Application hanging over the proceedings.
How does it work?
Each of you instructs a Collaboratively trained lawyer to represent you. You all have a genuine desire to make it work and you both agree to supply complete information about your assets. The process is open and honest.
What is so good about Collaborative Law?
You have the benefit of your solicitor to advise you, but the threat of Court Proceedings is removed.
You meet together with your solicitor, your ex-partner and their solicitor. The process is done in a series of four-way meetings. This can move matters forward swiftly as you can simply ask for any outstanding information or raise any queries you have without the delays of correspondence between solicitors.
The pace is set by you. If you need time to come to terms with an aspect of the separation that is fine, and equally if you are both ready to proceed to the next meeting swiftly that is also fine.
The agenda is set by you. The Collaborative family law meetings are designed so you talk about the things that matter most – the things that are most important to you and your family.
Communication continues between you and your ex-partner. A breakdown in communication is a major reason why some people end up making a Court Application.
The key decisions about your future are yours. They are not made by a judge and you are able to negotiate with the benefit of having your solicitor at your side.
The Participation Agreement
You and your ex-partner and both your solicitors sign the Participation Agreement. It explains the process and puts the interests of your children, in you have any, at the forefront.
The Participation Agreement establishes a sense of trust between all four of you and it ensures that you all understand that the negotiations will take place in an open and honest approach.
The Participation Agreement also sets out what will happen if the Collaboration breaks down. This is rare, as over 90% of couples who choose the Collaborative Family Law Process achieve a Collaborative Agreement.
The Collaborative Law Process involves meetings between the two solicitors and at least two four way meetings. It is unusual to achieve an agreement at the first meeting, as normally financial disclosure is required. The process can take up to five months depending on the complexity of your personal situation. The Collaborative Agreement will be signed by all parties and a Consent Order will be drawn out to be filed with the court.
At Bastows, our Collaborative Lawyers will prepare for the meetings by collating all the financial information presented by each party, followed by the drafting of the Participation Agreement and the drafting of the Heads of Agreement if achieved. We will provide a meeting venue in either Central London or Southampton and present the financial information from each party.
Bastows Collaborative Law service provides an opportunity to negotiate a financial settlement with the benefit of expert legal advice which affords respect and support to separating couples allowing them to part with dignity and avoiding the stress, uncertainty and costs of litigation.
For more information about the Collaborative Law process and see how we can help, please contact us on 0845 680 6045.