Collaborative Law is a process by which a separating couple can come to an agreement about the issues which need to be resolved on the breakdown of their relationship. This might be agreeing a financial settlement or making arrangements for their children. Collaborative Law is different to a more traditional approach because although both parties have their own solicitors, the solicitors are collaboratively trained and all negotiations and discussions take place in a series of meetings (called four way meetings).
At the first meeting, you will all sign a Participation Agreement confirming that you are using the collaborative process and that neither of you will issue court proceedings (except to obtain an divorce and a financial order by consent). If you are unable to reach an agreement on the issues during the collaborative process and one of you needs to issue an application to the court so that the Judge can make a decision, then both collaborative solicitors have to stop working for you and new solicitors need to be appointed. This is a significant difference from the traditional use of solicitors but encourages both the parties and their solicitors to do their very best to try and resolve everything by agreement.
At Gardner Leader we have a number of collaboratively trained solicitors who will be happy to talk to you about the process to help you decide if it is right for you.