Why not try the collaborative law process?

I have recently been working within the collaborative process with another family lawyer, and a couple who decided they wanted to resolve their financial issues in this way. Whilst any separation or divorce can be difficult and somewhat of an emotional roller coaster, I wonder how many people could, or would, be willing to try collaborative law.

The concept is simple. Each party instructs a collaboratively trained lawyer and agrees that they will resolve their issues via 4 way meetings, and agrees not to go to court. What this means is that the parties are totally involved with the way in which things are resolved. Corners are not cut however. If it is a financial matter that is to be resolved, both parties still have to make full disclosure of their financial position and the lawyers, with their clients, will basically carry out due diligence of the financial picture.

If additional evidence is required, whether it be valuation of a property; input from an accountant or a financial adviser; or a family therapist they can be invited to attend meetings, and any questions or queries can be made to them directly. The process therefore moves forward quicker and ultimately you decide how things should be settled. You still have your lawyer with you and will receive guidance throughout, but via agreement can make what you agree very personal to you. It is not for everyone because you do need to be able to work constructively with your ex and sit around the same table, but you are not alone like you are in mediation.

Given all the changes we are seeing in the family law arena; the rising costs that court proceedings bring; and the inevitable delays; alternative ways of resolving disputes must be the way forward, but one size does not fit all. I think it is worth looking at everything that is available and find the method that suits your circumstances and budget best of all.



Joanna Hawkins

Resolution Accredited Specialist, Collaborative Lawyer, Family Law Arbitrator and trained Mediator

Hawkins Family Law