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Lynne Bastow is a legal blogger well worth a read for anyone who has any interest in divorce law.
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What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law is an alternative process to resolve disputes between separating couples. Collaborative Law is different because the separating couple and the collaborative lawyers all sign an agreement which disqualifies them from making an application to Court. If the Collaborative process breaks down the separating couple will need to instruct new lawyers to represent them in Court. The Collaborative Lawyers are disqualified from representing you in court. This gives a huge incentive to reach an agreement without the stress and costs of a Court application, and without the threat of a Court Application hanging over the proceedings.


How does it work?

Each of you instructs a Collaboratively trained lawyer. You all have a genuine desire to make it work and you both agree to supply complete information about your assets. The process is open and honest.

You each have a skilled solicitor representing you.


What is so good about Collaborative Law?

You have the benefit of your solicitor to advise you, but the threat of Court Proceedings is removed.

You meet together with your solicitor, your ex-partner and their solicitor. The process is done in a series of four-way meetings. This can move matters forward swiftly as you can simply ask for any outstanding information or raise any queries you have without the delays of correspondence between solicitors.

The pace is set by you. If you need time to come to terms with an aspect of the separation that is fine, and equally if you are both ready to proceed to the next meeting swiftly that is also fine.

The agenda is set by you. The meetings are designed to talk about the things that matter most- the things that are most important to you and your family.

Communication continues between you and your ex-partner. A break down in communication is a major reason why some people end up making a Court Application.

The key decisions about your future are yours. They are not made by a judge and you are able to negotiate with the benefit of having your solicitor at your side.


The Participation Agreement

You and your ex-partner and both your solicitors sign the Participation Agreement. It explains the process and puts the interests of your children, in you have any, at the forefront.

The Participation Agreement establishes a sense of trust between all four of you and it ensures that you all understand that the negotiations will take place in an open and honest approach.

The Participation Agreement also sets out what will happen if the Collaboration breaks down. This is rare, as over 90% of couples who choose the Collaboration Process achieve a Collaborative Agreement.

The Collaborative Process involves meetings between the two solicitors and at least two four way meetings. It is unusual to achieve an agreement at the first meeting, as normally financial disclosure is required. The process can take up to five months depending on the complexity of your personal situation. The Collaborative Agreement will be signed by all parties and a Consent Order will be drawn out to be filed with the court.

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