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2: What is Collaborative Law?

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2: What is Collaborative Law?
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By John Darnton

Following National Dispute Resolution Week, we continue to explore the options available for family disputes. Mediation is often presented as a ‘Cure All’,  and there is no doubt that mediation is a great process for some people, but it does not work for everybody. When considering types of divorce, many people fear that mediation leaves them exposed or that they may make rash or foolish decisions because their partner is a bully or is ‘better at arguments’ than they are. They prefer the comfort of having their family lawyer more closely involved, and whilst solicitors can take part in the actual mediation sessions this is not the norm. Usually family lawyers just advise in the background providing guidance between mediation meetings and at the conclusion of the process.

In other situations, the couple would both benefit from having a family consultant (usually a trained family therapist) involved to deal with the emotional fallout from the ending of the relationship. This can provide huge assistance in keeping the discussions moving forward. For others the involvement of a financial adviser who is independent of the parties can bring enormous clarity and benefit. Such an individual can help the parties really understand the figures and look at things realistically and practically.

The collaborative process can often fill these gaps. A collaborative divorce recognises that all the problems that arise on separation are not legal, and that a court based process does not necessarily provide the right outcome for either party or the children. It is flexible and allows the couple to find and explore ‘out of the box’ solutions. It provides a safe environment in which the participants can work together with experienced professionals to reach outcomes that meet their agreed objectives, for example to promote a positive and healthy relationship for the benefit of their children. It encourages dignity and a constructive and conciliatory approach to problem solving without removing the support of appropriate legal advice.

Get in touch

The collaborative way of working is not for everyone, but if you are interested or would like more information, please contact out collaborative solicitors, John Darnton and Lisa Bolgar Smith.

2 December 2014

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