Ten reasons to choose collaborative practice for divorce agreements

Not every divorce has to end in a bitter court dispute. If you and your spouse or partner are still able to communicate and would like to resolve the financial and children issues that come with your separation without the involvement of the courts, then ‘Collaborative Practice’ can work for you.
Collaborative practice means that you and your spouse reach an agreement in a series of round-table meetings with your respective solicitors without the need to step foot inside a courtroom.
You both agree in writing not to involve the court in your dispute. This means that you can reach an agreement whilst preserving family relationships and protecting the best interests of your children. All without the expensive cost of the court process.

1. Control

You and your spouse, partner or civil partner, remain in control of the process. You are both deciding to resolve your agreement without the assistance of the court. That means you have control over how your finances or children issues are resolved. The court will not be imposing an order upon either one of you. You and your spouse or partner, with the help of your Collaborative lawyers, set the Agenda.

2. Costs

Collaborative practice means avoiding the extremely stressful and costly experience of court proceedings. If your Collaborative practice is successful then you will undoubtedly have saved your assets from depletion, compared to the very high cost of court proceedings.

3. Time

You and your spouse or partner set the Agenda. So you will also have much more control over how long the process will take to resolve. There are no deadlines imposed by anyone, except you both.

4. Health

Collaborative process takes into account the emotional and physical demands that divorce may place on you. Other Collaborative practitioners, such as Family Therapists can be consulted as part of the process, to help you move forward and to help you deal with the challenges, which divorce can bring.

5. Preserving Relationships

At the end of a successful Collaborative process, you and your spouse or partner will be able to continue having a respectful relationship. This will enable you, your children and extended family to continue your lives – separate, but not estranged from each other. Apart, but together as parents.

6. Creative Outcomes

As you and your spouse or partner are reaching an agreement without having a decision imposed upon you by the court, the outcomes can be more creative than may be ordered by the court. For example, you may own a business together and have specific ideas about how the business interests may be dealt with. These can be realised in your Collaborative Agreement. If your case were dealt with in court proceedings, the likely outcomes would be far more restricted.

7. Less paperwork: more interaction

The Collaborative process involves face-to-face meetings with your spouse or partner and the Collaborative practitioners. This inevitably reduces paperwork, letters going to and from solicitors and certainly goes a long way to avoid misunderstandings, which can sometimes occur through a purely paperwork-based approach.

8. A more ‘human’ relationship with your Solicitor

Collaborative law takes account of you and your spouse or partner in the context of your particular circumstances – finances, feelings, resentments and ‘baggage’. This means that your Collaborative lawyer will be working with you throughout to ensure those are acknowledged in the process, not ignored and, hopefully, dealt with as compassionately as possible. You or your spouse or partner may wish to meet with a Family Therapist.

9. The least amount of regret

Divorce, dissolution and separation are often emotionally painful processes, but divorce does not need to permanently damage you or your family. Collaborative offers you and your spouse, partner and extended family the best opportunity for resolving financial and children issues without creating long-lasting hurt.

10. Complete support from your Collaborative lawyer

Throughout the process, you will work closely with your Collaborative lawyer. She or he will be able to support you, both in meetings between you both and at the four-way meetings. You will not be sent to meetings alone and fearful of making the wrong choices. You may need the expert assistance of a Financial Neutral – A Financial advisor who can assist your and your spouse or partner as part of the process. All the financial and legal information, choices and decisions will be fully explained. You will be supported all the way.

 
Katy Zikking is a specialist family solicitor at Harbour Family Law Solicitors in Bristol with over 16 years experience of helping clients divorce. You can contact her by e-mail at: [email protected] or by calling 01179 055141 or 01275 390458. Katy is a trained Collaborative solicitor. www.harbourfamilylaw.co.uk/methods.

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