If you find yourself facing divorce or separation, it is important to remember that not every couple ends up in a battle as often depicted in the media. Mediation and collaborative law could be the key to making your experience as straightforward as possible, especially where children are involved in a divorce situation, and can also reduce the costs involved. So, you may be asking ‘is collaborative law the right process for my divorce?’
There is another way
Collaborative law is an alternative route to resolve disputes where the end goal is to settle any disagreements avoiding court. Each of you appoints your own lawyer, but the negotiations take place over a series of meetings (with you and your lawyer and your ex and their lawyer), rather than via letters, emails and over the phone. In this way you get support and advice throughout the process.
There are many benefits to the collaborative law process. Collaborative law encourages communication and is much less hostile than other court processes. It encourages you to work together to reach outcomes that benefit the whole family. The process itself is flexible, meeting as often as needed, and often improves the relationship with your ex partner because all communications are carried out directly, and any issues are quickly identified and rectified without endless letters and time delays. Best solutions are encouraged whilst working together rather than saying what shouldn’t happen in certain situations. This means that expenses and unpleasant feelings associated with court are reduced which can greatly assist when children are involved.
When it may not work
Of course, collaborative law will not be suitable if you think that your ex partner is not going to be straightforward, or may hide information, as it relies on a high level of trust between parties. Collaborative law is not about getting what is best for you, it is what is best for everyone involved, so if the former is your approach, a different method may be more suitable for you.
Getting the right advice
In order to decide whether the collaborative law process will be right for you, you need to decide, with help, what your main aims are. You should then discuss further with your divorce lawyer all aspects so that they can advise which approach may be most appropriate for your personal circumstances.
If it is at all possible for you to sort out things through the collaborative law process, you may find that it brings you considerable benefits in the future.