Going through a divorce is an emotional and upsetting time often fraught with confusion about legal terms and courts. It can be a costly process for both parties. Not many people are familiar with collaborative divorce but this process and also divorce mediation are both roads that lead away from the courtroom.
What is collaborative law? This is a process for parties to sort out their relationship breakdown. Each party appoints their own lawyer and rather than negotiations taking place by telephone or letter, discussions take place in a series of ‘four way’ meetings. These meetings involve the separating couple and their appointed lawyers. Collaborative law is quite different from the court process and reduces hostility and encourages communication between the parties. It also avoids the expense of preparing for court as well as the unpleasantness involved and most importantly the cost. However, this process may not suit everyone – it requires you both to be open and honest and search for a solution that is the best for both parties and any children of the family.
The most notable difference between mediation and collaboration is how the rules are maintained. In the case of mediation a third party mediator keeps the process in order. In divorce collaboration a document called a ‘participation agreement’ outlines the rules of conduct in the proceedings. If this is violated the collaborative process may be shut down and proceedings would then move to another process.
Family Solicitor Andrew Stynes says, “Family lawyers offering collaborative divorce services are trained to focus on the family unit as a whole, rather than on their client’s needs exclusively.” Lawyers for both parties work together to achieve the overall goal of resolving the divorce so in effect both sides ‘win’.
We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Family team also cover Bournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Andy or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.