How does the collaborative process work?


You and your former partner/spouse each instruct a collaborative lawyer and agree, in writing, to work together to resolve the issues surrounding your separation without going to court.
 
Through a series of 'four-way' meetings, you, your ex and your lawyers discuss the key issues surrounding your divorce or separation and reach agreements. You set the pace and you are in control of the decisions that are made, with your lawyers by your side at every step of the way.
 
Your lawyers will set an agenda before each meeting, which takes into account the issues you both wish to discuss. You and your partner have a duty of full and frank disclosure, and you provide all of the documents within the process.

Correspondence between lawyers is discouraged, thereby keeping costs and acrimony to a minimum. Discussions focus on your needs and interests and those of your partner and any children you have. The meetings are arranged at the start of the process, which puts you in control, as you are not having to wait for court dates.

With your and your former partner’s agreement, your lawyers can bring other family professionals – such as financial or pensions specialists, counsellors or coaches – into the meetings if required to provide specialist advice on any specific issues that arise. For issues that require expert opinions (such as tax advice or valuing a business), the collaborative team will normally jointly instruct independent consultants, following discussions with you at one of your meetings.
 
Provided that you both enter into the process in good faith, it is generally faster, cheaper and less acrimonious to reach a resolution using collaborative law than through court proceedings.   

If the process breaks down, your lawyers are not allowed to represent you in court. This ensures that they remain focused on helping you reach agreement collaboratively.

Many of our members offer a free, no-obligation discussion, where they will talk you through the process and how it works to make sure it's right for you. You can download our leaflet here or click to find a collaborative family lawyer in your area.