Is an Amicable Divorce Or Separation Achievable?

A new breed of Collaborative Lawyers believe so.

Divorce can be a bitter and painful experience. The traditional divorce process is often adversarial; which implies everyone involved, including the children, may emerge from the other end psychologically damaged by what has gone on. But it no longer needs to be that way.

A pioneering new way of getting divorced is beginning to take hold in England after initially being developed in the USA and Canada. It’s known as Collaborative Law, and it is a way to try and deal with issues following the breakdown of a relationship, including finances and children, by using a non-confrontational approach.

Collaborative Law is useful in reducing the conflict which often can arise between parties in a family dispute scenario. The process means you will never be seated inside a courtroom looking for a Judge to decide your fate – you will keep charge of the issues throughout.

Collaborative Law is only appropriate if both parties consent to follow this path. Both sides, in addition to their specially trained Collaborative lawyers, sign a contract confirming their commitment to reaching a settlement out of court. The lawyers involved additionally agree to disqualify themselves from court proceedings, should the process break down. This is an essential component as it ensures that clients and lawyers are focused on trying to facilitate an agreement using the Collaborative Law method. The entire process is organised to increase the possibility of a productive negotiation being arrived at and current research indicates a success rate of 85%.

The collaborative process is quite different from traditional litigation and even from “round table” meetings. There is hardly any correspondence exchanged between lawyers. Instead issues are advanced by way of face to face negotiations with both parties as well as their particular collaborative lawyers, in what is known as “four way meetings”. Everyone is on first name terms and functions together as a team until solutions are found which are acceptable to both clients and their lawyers.

At the conclusion both sides sign a record agreeing to the agreement they have arrived at. A financial agreement is then filed in court for the Judge to approve in their absence, where it will be transformed into a binding consent order.

Clearly, Collaborative Law is not for everyone. It is only suitable in situations where both spouses have the willingness and capability to keep a level head to try to resolve the situation in a calm and passive manner.

Collaborative Lawyers have been given specific training to assist the people involved to try and see the bigger picture, including the effect a break up or divorce can have on children, and to enable them to set practical and attainable goals for negotiations.

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