For some reason Collaborative Law has not taken off in the UK in the way that I had anticipated it would. For those who do not know, Collaborative Law is where two specially trained lawyers and their clients agree that they will not litigate on a case and commit themselves in a binding agreement to finding a solution in a series of round table meetings, however difficult that may be. All concerned have to be prepared to communicate with and listen to each other and inevitably be able to compromise and find a solution. However, the advantages are manifold. There will be no litigation so the costs will be considerably cheaper than a contested case and experience has shown that the outcome will almost certainly mean that the parties can maintain a civil and sensible relationship for the future. This is crucially important where children are involved.
Divorcing and separating is never a pleasant option but Collaboration gives the parties a much better chance of preserving some form of relationship going forward. It avoids much of the bitterness and anger that comes from court proceedings where the parties are forced to take positions and fight each other. I was reminded of all of this recently when I concluded my latest collaborative case. It was a situation that potentially could have been very expensive for the couple concerned. There were difficult issues to confront in terms of responsibility for considerable debts that had been racked up, impending retirement, where they would each live and what was to happen to the matrimonial home which had just been sold. With goodwill on everybody’s part after just two meetings all of these issues were resolved and the parties knew that they had a way forward. At the end of the last meeting I asked my client if he needed to come back to the office to have a chat with me but he turned to his soon to be ex-wife and suggested that they go for a coffee instead. This is not an uncommon experience in collaborative cases – there is no way that would have happened after a Court hearing! The couple concerned certainly do now have a brighter future and it is a much better way of dealing with things.
If you have an questions about this or indeed would like to explore the possibility of using collaborative law please contact Berwins Family Team on 01423 543119