What is collaborative law?
In this video, Resolution-trained Collaborative Lawyer Lisa Burton-Durham explains more about the model and its benefits:
- The collaborative family law process requires a shared commitment to avoid litigation. It provides an opportunity for couples to work together with their collaborative lawyers to find solutions that enable them and their family to move forward in a positive way.
- The process involves a series of informal discussions and joint meetings for the purposes of settling all issues known as ‘four way’ meetings. They involve the couple and their collaboratively trained lawyers.
- Each party and his or her lawyer sign an agreement confirming the mutual intention of reaching a fair and equitable settlement and, just as importantly, not to go to court other than by agreement.
Why choose collaborative law?
- You can focus on what is important to you and resolve matters quickly;
- If there are children they can benefit as the process will focus on the children first;
- You can achieve a more flexible and creative solution adapted to your family’s needs;
- The process is straightforward and eliminates the opportunity for misunderstanding;
- The goal is to enhance communication through the process and to lay the foundations for a healthy relationship afterwards;
- Where there are children it can provide a very powerful message as the children will see their parents resolving differences constructively together;
- It is ideally suited to discuss child arrangements, financial settlements, divorce proceedings, pre and post nuptial agreements, living together agreements and contested probate disputes.
How does the collaborative family law process differ from the traditional court route?
- It will ensure that you and your spouse/partner have a voice and are in control of the process. If the court is involved the process will be dictated by a Judge;
- You will benefit from the strength of two lawyers working together rather than in opposition to one another;
- The process is confidential, whereas the court process has been recently opened up to allow a media presence;
- The process is very much a future focused process and the aim is that you work with and not against your partner. In contrast, the court process can become a battleground;
Compared with the traditional court process it can provide better value for money, particularly if long term solutions are achieved.
Does the collaborative law model always work?
No guarantee can be given that the collaborative process will definitely work and it’s not for everyone. However, with an open and transparent approach and a genuine desire to achieve what is best for both parties not a “what’s in it for me” attitude, lasting solutions can be found.