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. 

It’s rare that you’d see anyone advertising a ‘one stop shop for all your divorce needs’. And if you did, you’d no doubt be sceptical. 
But when you’re faced with the prospect of divorce, there are so many things to think about. Your children, your finances, not to mention your emotional wellbeing…most people feel they’re going round in circles and don’t know where to start. Do you turn to a financial adviser? A solicitor? An accountant? 
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could speak to one person, and that person could bring the right people together to help you work through all of these things and reach agreements with your ex that work for both of you, and for your family? 
A collaborative family lawyer can do exactly that. 
Keeping things simple
In a ‘traditional’ divorce, you appoint your solicitor; your ex does the same and all correspondence is routed through the lawyers. If an issue arises around pensions, for example, you might both seek advice from separate pensions advisers. This introduces two new people into the mix, which can cause confusion and unnecessary complications as well as dragging things out, which invariably ends up costing money and delays you reaching agreement.
When you choose collaborative law, you each appoint a collaboratively trained solicitor, and all four of you get together around a table in a series of meetings to talk through everything you need to resolve. In this scenario, if an issue comes up around pensions, your lawyers will bring in a pensions specialist who is also trained in collaborative law, and will make sure that person understands your circumstances so that they can advise you both together and help you reach agreement. 
They can also bring in a range of other professionals, including financial advisers, accountants, coaches or counsellors who are also qualified in collaborative law, which means that they will support discussions, not derail them.  
Five heads are better than one
With collaborative law, you’ll have the right experts on hand when you need them, working together to give you and your ex the information and advice you need to make the - often difficult - decisions you need to make. We know from talking to clients that having people who know what they’re doing and want to work in a constructive way to support you can be invaluable in getting to outcomes that are better for you and your family, especially in the longer term.
So if you know someone who is going through separation or divorce and might not have heard of collaborative family law, it might be worth mentioning to them and directing them to more information. A lot of our members offer a free initial consultation, too, so people can find out more before they decide whether collab is right for them. You can find out more and look for a lawyer in your local area here.

Nicki Mitchell is a senior associate and trained collaborative family lawyer at Lupton Fawcett in York.
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