Collaborative law is the process adopted by specifically trained family law solicitors as an alternative to the traditional route of litigation when dealing with the breakdown of a relationship. This process involves the couple engaging in a series of open civilised discussions about the unique terms of their separation. Both parties will have their own collaborative family lawyer present and at their side during such discussions to aid the process of negotiation which both parties participate in and remain fully involved until a solution is achieved. The process is different to the traditional route in that all parties at the outset sign an agreement called the participation agreement which provides that no party can threaten or make use of the Court process in an adversarial way and neither collaborative lawyer can ever represent either party in any litigation against the other, encouraging the parties to the process to be fully committed to achieving a resolution together. Once an agreement is reached, the collaborative lawyers record the same in a deed if recording a separation agreement or a draft order for submission to the Court for approval if the parties are divorcing. The couple set the pace at which they are comfortable in relation to discussing the issues involved and endeavour to agree matters together rather than feeling that they have been dragged helplessly through a process by solicitors and sometimes the Courts.
This process is not for everyone and is by no means the easy option. It requires the right mindset from everyone involved. This process may not be cheaper than the traditional route but, for those couples for whom it is right, it provides a genuine resolution to issues surrounding a relationship breakdown and for those who reach agreement, a genuine sense of well being.
Olive McCarthy is a specialist family solicitor and is the Director in charge of our Family and Matrimonial Department is a trained and experienced Collaborative lawyer.
Contact Olive McCarthy on: 01992 558411.