News and information about collaborative family law from our members in the north of England.

Confident creativity

One of the biggest fears collaborative family lawyers face is impasse in round table discussions. How do you get around it? For the final day of Collaborative Family Law Week 2019 we find out why Stephen Root from Berwins believes that creativity is key.


Positive messaging

On day four of Collaborative Family Law Week 2019, Ardent Law's Kiren Dulkoan explains why sharing positive messages is something we should all be focusing on doing much more often, rather than looking to others to promote collaborative law for us. 


Watch your language...

"We all talk, but we don't really know how." It's day three of Collaborative Family Law Week, and today it's over to our Northern Lights conference speaker, Elizabeth Stokoe, for her views on communication. 

Effective teamwork

As Panic! At the Disco's Brendan Urie reminded us in his duet with Taylor Swift: “Girl, there ain’t no I in ‘team’”. And this applies just as much to the collaborative process. On day two of Collaborative Family Law Week, we look at what it takes to build an effective team.

Building a framework of trust

Having faith in the collaborative process and trust in you as their lawyers is key to clients reaching an outcome that is right for them and their family. But how do you build that trust? Nicki Mitchell from Jones Myers gets Collaborative Family Law Week 2019 underway with her thoughts on building trust.

Family law: the future

The 2019 Northern Lights conference will open with an examination of how the current and future environment for a landscape of family practice is likely to be shaped and changed by the reforms, by digital technology and most importantly by changing consumer behaviour.

The importance of a culture of trust

We've all worked in places where there was no trust. How did that feel? Did it make you more effective or less? 

'If you build it, they will come'

It’s the final day of Collaborative Family Law Week. And we want to end on a high. So we spoke to Stephen Root from Berwins Solicitors about keeping the faith with collaborative practice. Here’s what he had to say...

Enjoy the Silence

Silence can be immensely powerful. On day four of Collaborative Family Law Week, hear why Carmelita Ardren believes that learning to stop ourselves jumping in and filling the gaps can bring huge benefits in collaborative practice. 

Don't be Afraid

Is fear holding you back from doing more collaborative cases? You're not alone, but Kiren Dulkoan has some #CFLWeek advice for overcoming some of those fears.

Be Curious

Asking questions will give you information. And the more information you have in the collaborative process, the better equipped you are to help your clients reach the agreement they’re looking for. On day two of Collaborative Family Law Week 2018, find out why Ed Heaton's #CFLWeek advice is to 'stay curious'.

Finding your way through the great unknown

It's Collaborative Family Law Week! Whether you’re a newly qualified collaborative lawyer embarking on your first case or a seasoned practitioner about to begin a new case, you may feel as though you are entering ‘the great unknown’. Before you take that leap, read Nicki Mitchell's thoughts on navigating these uncharted waters.

Are you ready to use your brain for a change?

Are you running on autopilot and feeling stuck in the same routine? Confidence coach Jules Wyman can help you use your brain for a change. 

Working Together: Mediation and collaborative law

There are key differences between mediation and collaborative law and the ways each are used to find a solution in a dispute. Brighter Future member Emma Beddoe explains.

Hi-yah! It’s the Northern Lights Ninjas

When you find yourself in a room with 80 people, it’s not even 10am and you’re all playing a children’s party game, it can mean only one thing: it’s the annual Northern Lights conference...

Better endings

Would you hand over control of your life to someone else? Someone who doesn’t know you? Would you let them make vital decisions about your finances, or where you and your children will live? If the answer is no, read on...

Distance is no object

If you’re divorcing or separating and you’ve bought into the idea of sitting round a table with your lawyers to work things out, how important is it that the table is actually there? Can virtual round table meetings work?

It's good to talk

When your relationship or marriage has broken down beyond repair, the idea of talking to your ex to work out what's going to happen with your lives, your children, your home, your finances can feel like a step too far. But it's good to talk, and here's why.

Who's got your back?

The fallout from relationship breakdown is far reaching. You’re making and coming to terms with life-changing decisions as you navigate incredibly difficult times and work towards creating ‘a new normal’ for yourself and for your family. Having people around you who can help you through makes a real difference. 

Positive starts

If you’ve heard of collaborative family law at all, the chances are it’s been linked to divorce. But collaborative law isn’t just about supporting people through separation. It can also help to set a relationship or marriage off on a positive footing. 

DivorceHotel: what is that all about?

David Leckie and Clare Thornton launched DivorceHotel UK in York in March 2017 to considerable media attention. Here, they explain how it works and how family professionals can get involved.

Working with a divorce coach

Family consultants (divorce or relationship coaches, for instance) are increasingly working alongside solicitors to provide emotional support to clients and help expedite the legal process. Ahead of her workshop at the annual Northern Lights conference, divorce coach Danielle Barbereau explains where and how a coach can support the collaborative process. 

Bringing it all together

Where would you turn if you were faced with the prospect of divorce? A financial adviser? A solicitor? An accountant? Collaborative family lawyer Nicki Mitchell discusses how collaborative law can help give you clarity and stop you going round in circles. 

What I’ve learned from a decade in collaborative law

Stephen Root, family partner at Berwins Solicitors reflects on ten years as a collaborative family lawyer, and the benefits of the collaborative process for separating couples.

Communication is key

When it comes to achieving a collaborative outcome that works for everyone, the importance of communication cannot be underestimated, says collaborative family lawyer and mediator, Sue McArthur.

The 12 Ways of Christmas

Sharing care of children with a smile on your face over the festive period can seem an insurmountable task, especially if feelings are raw and emotions are bubbling under the surface leaving everyone on edge. So just how do you do it?  

A better way

Did you know it’s Good Divorce Week? We’ve talked previously about whether there is such a thing as a ‘good’ divorce (we think there is), and this week is all about promoting the Resolution Code of Practice. ‘The Resolution what?’, we hear you cry…let us explain.

“What does the future look like for me?”

It’s inevitable that divorce will feel like the end of something, but the way you divorce can help you see a way forward and feel instead that you are approaching the start of something new. It can be hard to see, when wounds are still raw and everything feels uncertain, but looking ahead to the future can help you make better decisions in the here and now.

Why family lawyers need to treat themselves with compassion, too

In order to care responsibly for our clients we need to recognise and respond to our own needs as well, and so learn to distinguish self-care from its much more dangerous shadow, self-sacrifice. As this year's Northern Lights conference gets underway, speaker and psychotherapist, family mediator, supervisor and trainer Chris Mills looks at self-care for family professionals.        

“Is there ever really such a thing as a dignified divorce?”

It is said that bad divorces never end; the conflict goes on forever and can affect families and friends – not to mention the separated couple themselves - for years to come. But it’s equally true that, with the right mindset, it is possible to separate with dignity and create a more positive basis from which to move forward with your lives. Find out how.

“I feel powerless” - how to stay in control of your separation

One of the things we hear a lot as lawyers when couples are divorcing is that they feel powerless, and not in control of what’s happening to them. Letting a court decide on your future is essentially handing over control to someone who doesn’t know you or your family. Find out how collaborative law differs.

“I only want what’s fair. But who decides?”

If you presented the same information to six different people and asked for their opinion, what are the chances that their responses would all be the same? The same applies when it comes to asking a judge to rule on the details of your divorce. Find out how you can sort things out by staying out of court.

“Sit around a table with my ex to work out our divorce? You’ve got to be joking…”

It's Collaborative Family Law Week (3-7 October), and we'll be publishing a series of daily posts this week to help you understand how the collaborative approach works, and its benefits. To start things off, we're looking at how working together can result in a less acrimonious separation.

Three steps towards creating healthy relationships

Communicating effectively and constructively is a vital skill when repairing or improving your relationship with your partner. It may be that you want to put things back on a loving and supportive footing, or that you have separated but need to continue to work together to look after your children. Relationship coach Claire Walters offers some practical advice for improving communication.

Can collaborative law ever really work?

We’re often asked as collaborative lawyers whether, in reality, a couple who are going through a separation or divorce - which is rarely an amicable process - can sit together in the same room and resolve the issues they need to resolve. We know they can, and here's how.

The new state pension: will it affect your divorce?

The state pension is changing. Pre April 2016, an ex-wife could claim credits against her husband’s National Insurance record if she had insufficient qualifying years without affecting his basic rate, but this is no longer the case. Brighter Future member and chartered financial planner Elaine Gwinnett looks at how this could impact on divorcing couples.

It Ain't What You Do, It's The Way That You Do It...

Research findings released this week by family law group Resolution show that around eight out of ten children and young people with experience of parental separation or divorce would prefer their parents to split up if they are unhappy, rather than stay together. What we found most interesting from the poll of young people aged 14-22, is that their feedback showed it’s not divorce itself, but the way it’s handled, that has lasting impact.

Arbitration: it's not just for the big guys!

If you've ever wondered how family arbitration can help resolve issues around divorce, here's a first hand account of a successful arbitration from collaborative family lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, Clare Thornton ahead of her workshop at the Northern Lights conference in York next month.

Mindfulness in family law practice

Andrew Pearce will be running a workshop on mindfulness at the Northern Lights conference for family lawyers, mediators and other family professionals on 2 October in York. Here, he shares some thoughts on the topic.

True collaboration: a better way

In a week where keeping family disputes out of court is at the forefront of many people's minds, we look at the alternatives to court that are available to separating and divorcing couples.

Your good deed for the week

Next week is National Family DR Week, but what does that mean for separating families and couples?  Read on to find out.

Who should decide your children’s future?

A court-based divorce leaves key decisions about your family’s future in the hands of people who know very little about you and your family circumstances. Surely there’s a better way?

The new ‘online’ divorce

It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they can’t bear to be in the same room as their ex when they are separating or divorcing. But can they resolve the issues around their separation by collaborating online?

Don't become a court statistic

Recent research shows that the average divorce takes six months to complete, which is 10% longer than it took 12 months ago. Find out how avoiding the courts puts you in the driving seat, allowing you to take control of your family's future, rather than being left at the mercy of an overloaded family justice system.

Reaching effective solutions, together

You may have read or heard that using the collaborative process to work out the issues arising from your separation doesn’t necessarily just involve you and your lawyers. Here, experienced family consultant Andrew Pearce shares his experience of working with couples using the collaborative process.

Compulsory MIAMS: what do they mean?

You may have heard in the news recently that couples who want to use the courts to resolve the issues around their divorce must now attend a compulsory Mediation Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM). Here's a guide to MIAMs and what they mean for separating couples.

Collaborative law or mediation?

Our members are often asked "What's the difference between collaborative law and mediation?" by people who are interested in exploring alternatives to court, so we thought it would be useful to share a few key differences between the two processes.