What is Collaborative Law?
In the Collaborative Law process (also known as Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Practice) each person has his or her own specially trained lawyer. You, your partner and both lawyers work as a team to resolve issues through a series of round table 4-way meetings (two of you plus two lawyers and your family consultant).
We all sign an agreement at the beginning that we will not go to court. If one of you later changes your mind about this, both of you have to appoint new lawyers. This helps to ensure we all remain focussed on constructively resolving the issues and threatening phrases like “see you in court” lose all meaning. In our experience, this feature of the agreement is very powerful and encourages imaginative problem solving and allows you to reach a truly tailor-made set of solutions for you both and for your children. CFL have produced this excellent article on Collaborative Law.
Unlike court where a judge decides what is important in your case, if something is important to one of you, then it is important in the process and will be given time. The following video provides a useful introduction to Collaborative Law:
The Collaborative Process
Our specialist lawyers at our Newcastle and South Shields offices are by your side throughout the collaborative law process to manage the discussions in a constructive, non-confrontational way. As the discussions take place face to face there is little room for misunderstandings.
Our collaborative lawyers are trained to help you to overcome communication difficulties so you can focus on finding the solutions that are right for your family. They will advise and guide you about the law, working together to encourage you to consider the whole family’s needs.
It is usual for other professionals to be brought into the collaborative law process to help us all find solutions for your family. These people can include accountants, pensions experts, tax advisers and Independent Financial Advisors to support your discussions and decisions.
Meetings usually last for one to two hours and typically, there are between two and five meetings, depending on how complex your case is.
We undertook the first collaborative case in the North East over 10 years ago and now have four collaborative lawyers in our team. We are ranked in the top category in each of the independent legal directories – The Legal 500 rank us in the top tier where we are noted for our collaborative law work and in Chambers and Partners we are also listed in Band 1 where the team are noted as “standing out for its collaborative law expertise”.
Collaborative Law – a client perspective
If you are interested in finding out more about collaborative law in practice, you may find this useful Q&A from a client who has recently completed the process useful: Collaborative Law – a client perspective.