Embarking on a divorce is an extremely stressful process for both parties, particularly when there are children involved, and with so many options available to deal with the breakdown of a marriage which one is the right one?
Clients are faced with choosing from the traditional routes of Solicitors negotiating via letters and the commencing of Court proceedings if agreement cannot be reached or arbitration that does enable them to take more control over the timetable than that allowed during court proceedings or, private financial dispute resolution or, other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation or, the focus of this article collaborative law.
Which is the right one will depend on many factors, but the traditional routes risks future decisions about the most important aspects of a client’s life and future being taken away from them; in default of agreement a Judge or arbitrator will decide, generally with little prospect of an appeal if the judgment is unfavourable to a client.
Collaborative law provides the opportunity for both parties and their respective solicitors to sit around a table and discuss ways forward that the traditional routes cannot provide for. There are no letters passing between solicitors in which points get lost in translation. The process enables both parties to fully discuss their concerns and priorities. Solicitors and clients work together to find the best possible solutions for future housing, incomes and arrangements for the children. All commit to the process, so much so that it is a fundamental aspect that if the process breaks down clients must seek alternative legal representation.
Other experts collaboratively trained can be asked to assist and join meetings such as life coaches, independent financial advisers and accountants, all of whom again are working together with both parties and their solicitors to find the best possible solutions; and, some of whom may remain instructed by the parties for future financial planning and wellbeing.
Collaborative law is not confined to divorce and separation. Clients can use the process to settle the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement, enabling them to marry having dealt with what can be a very sensitive matter in a constructive non-confrontational process.
The process can be difficult, but the benefits outweigh the negatives and it enables clients to make the future their own and, for the sake of their children communicate effectively whilst doing so.
For advice on collaborative law or, for any other family law related matter please contact one of our specialist family team Alex Kennedy at our Brighouse office 01484 714400, Jayne Shorrock at our Morley office 0113 4673430, Rachel Marshall and Sana Tariq at our Cleckheaton office 01274 864002, Deborah Marsh at our Leeds office 0113 4874020, Rachel Marshall and Sana Tariq at our Batley office 01924 473065 and Jayne Shorrock at our Birstall office 01924 443900.