Family & Divorce
Can working in collaboration with your ex really get you a settlement?
It doesn’t always have to be a battle and the law encourages negotiated agreements rather than court battles when it comes to sorting out financial and child arrangements in relationship breakdowns.
Mediation has become a well-known option for settling out of court but some people are worried about committing to a settlement without legal advice. Although you can always get legal advice on what you have discussed in mediation outside of the mediation meetings themselves, your lawyer cannot be with you in the mediation meetings.
How would you feel if your lawyer and maybe other professional advisers such as financial advisers, divorce coaches or pension experts, were in the meetings as well?
The collaborative approach is a revolutionary model that does just that. There is usually a series of joint face to face meetings between the parties with their lawyers and any other professionals who may be appropriate. The focus is on supporting both of you to work your way through the issues and to achieve a solution that is right for the whole family, avoiding going to court. It puts you as the clients at the centre of the divorce or separation process.
The aim is to ensure the process is fair, properly thought out and agreed. It avoids you fighting against each other for the best possible outcome for yourselves as individuals.
Social distancing restrictions during lock down have made this very difficult but it has opened our eyes to the possibility of using technology for remote meetings when appropriate, such as where the parties live far apart or when an outside expert is needed for one off advice and guidance.
The Covid pandemic has resulted in considerable delays in the Courts with some hearings taking 6 months or more to be listed and cases taking over a year to be resolved. With the collaborative approach, you can schedule meetings within your own chosen timescale and conclude matters a lot more quickly. The agreement you reach can be drawn up as a court order by consent without having to go to any court hearings, so it is just as legally binding as one made at a court hearing.
Sally Ward, Senior Associate Solicitor in our Family department, said:
“With the pandemic restrictions easing, the possibility for face to face collaborative work has opened up again. Having trained as a collaborative practitioner over 10 years ago and successfully negotiated settlements that work for both parties and their children without the need to go to court, I look forward to settling many more cases this way.
“If you are interested in finding out more about the collaborative process please call me on 01708 784050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”