Agreeable - A review of the experience - Family Law Partners

Agreeable – A review of the experience

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Agreeable – A review of the experience

Co-Author Kim Crewe

We have been offering Agreeable, our one couple/one lawyer model for two years now. I’ve really enjoyed the cases I have worked on and we wanted to share the benefits of working in this way.

Firstly, we have found that some people assume that to use Agreeable you have to be broadly agreed as to the way forward. This is not a requirement of the process at all. The purpose of Agreeable is to enable you to work with one family consultant and one solicitor to help you to reach an agreement on matters relating to your separation.

Hazel – a solicitor’s perspective

Many couples want to use Agreeable because they are worried that if they go to separate solicitors that this could cause unnecessary conflict between them. By working with one solicitor, they both hear the advice for each of them and the same information. Over the years that I have been mediating and now that we have Agreeable, I have realised how much of a benefit it is to be able to hear both parties’ stories. Often when we work as a solicitor with one client it is very rare for us to ever have a conversation with the other half of the couple. We therefore only hear our client’s view on the situation and we become aligned with that client and their hopes and the outcomes they wish to achieve. This means that we do not hear the other person’s view point and we do not know their aims and wishes. This can be a barrier to helping the parties to reach a settlement.

Working with both of the couple means that we hear from both of them. They will not always agree as to the history of their relationship and they may have different priorities moving forward. However, by talking with both of them and exploring both sides of the story we are much more able to help them to reach a resolution.

My role in Agreeable is to be neutral. I am not there to take sides. I am able to give both parties advice and the advice they each receive as to the best outcome for each could be different. This is the same as when parties have a solicitor each. However, by using Agreeable it is part of the experience that the advice given is not kept secret from the other. They get to hear the best and worst case for each and they can then use this knowledge to make compromises and find a way forward.

We also have a useful check on what I am doing as a solicitor in Agreeable. I help the couple with their negotiations and to create a proposal. Once they have reached agreement then the agreement is referred to one of my solicitor colleagues. The colleague will check the terms of the agreement to ensure that it falls within the expectations of the law and they will draft the consent order to be submitted to the court. We truly work as a team to provide support and to ensure the couple work together to reach an agreement. I really enjoy working in this way which can only benefit the clients.

Kim – a family consultant’s perspective

Even when the decision to separate is made together, it is still an emotional decision and more so, if only one of the couple have decided that this is the way forward. My role as a relationship therapist with the Agreeable experience is not to provide therapy but to use my therapeutic skills to help couples navigate their way through their separation into their new lives.

It can be really tough seeing your children for half of the week or selling the family home and sharing your savings or pensions.

During the Agreeable experience I will meet with you individually to understand your priorities, your concerns, how you see the future,  and if you have children how you would like them to look back on this time.  I will then meet with you as a couple so that you can share these thoughts with each other and begin to form a plan for moving forward.

Couples with children appreciate time with me to form their own parenting plan, looking at issues such as living arrangements, pocket money, attitudes towards education and screen time and introducing a new partner.

Like Hazel, my role is to remain neutral but from time to time one of the couple may need some additional support to help them with this transition and as long as both of the couple agree I am able to offer individual time.

Back to Hazel

Coming into Agreeable can be difficult for a couple but this is where our family consultant is so important to the process. Not only does the family consultant provide support for the couple but I have found their involvement invaluable in helping with the negotiations and helping the couple focus on what is needed. We work as a team and support each other which in turn supports the couple.

How can we help?

If you would like to know more about Agreeable to see if this is the right approach for you or if you would like to work with a family consultant in any of the family law processes, such as mediation, lawyer negotiation or the collaborative process, please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.


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