Our firm has one of the largest collaborative law practices in the North West.
Caroline Jones, Jackie Rawcliffe and Diana Williams help divorcing clients who want to avoid the distress of prolonged arguments to reach solutions that are in the best interests of their entire family. One way they do this is by working in a process known as collaborative practice. This is a way of resolving family matters including divorce, separation, financial issues, property disputes, children issues and civil partnership disputes.
How does it work?
Both you and your partner work with specially trained collaborative lawyers. You each receive legal advice and guidance and, together with your lawyers, discuss and resolve issues through face to face meetings. The process can also include other professionals including counselors, mediators and financial specialists to help you reach agreement. Provided everyone enters into the process in good faith, the process is faster and less acrimonious than court proceedings. It is about finding a fair solution for you.
How do we avoid the threat of court action during negotiations?
Everyone signs an agreement disqualifying your collaborative lawyers from representing you at court if the collaborative process breaks down. Neither of the lawyers, nor their respective firms, can then act for you in any court based proceedings. You would need to instruct new lawyers to proceed to court, if you did not reach an agreement.
What are the advantages of negotiating outside the court process?
Participants retain control of the pace of the process and the agenda, reassured in the knowledge that their lawyers are at their side throughout the negotiations. Other experts from a wide range of disciplines can be enlisted to complement and help the collaborative process. Settlement is reached in a series of ‘4 way’ face to face meetings. All information and disclosure is provided in the collaborative process and the parties have a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of all assets so negotiations can be honest and frank. Minutes of the meetings are prepared and agreed after each session. This avoids correspondence between lawyers and avoids delay.
The collaborative process helps maintain channels of communication between you and your partner. This is important if you need to co-operate as parents after divorce or separation. You are involved at all stages in the negotiations about your assets. Collaborative practice is a good option for people who want to avoid the uncertainties of the court based system.