Alternatives to Court - Collaborative Family Law
Machins Solicitors LLP is proud to endorse the collaborative family law process. This process involves each person appointing their own lawyer but instead of conducting negotiations by letter or phone you meet together to work things out face to face. Each of you will have your lawyer by your side throughout the entire process and therefore you will benefit from legal advice as you go. The absolute aim of collaborative law is to resolve family disputes without going to court.
How does the collaborative process work?
Initial meetings take place with your individual lawyers, different options are discussed and if you decide the collaborative process is for you, this is broadly what happens next:-
- You and your lawyer will discuss what you both need to do in order to prepare for the first 'four way' meeting. The lawyers will speak to each other either face to face or over the phone in order to plan for your first meeting. An agenda will be agreed between all parties.
- At the first four way meeting the lawyers will make sure that you are both committed to working out an agreement without going to court and you will all four sign an agreement to this effect. Your lawyers are parties to this agreement and are committed to the success of the process. If the process breaks down, both yourself and your former partner will need to instruct a new legal team to represent you.
- Sharing your own objectives you will plan the agenda for the next meeting, for instance this might include a discussion about how the children are responding to the separation or how financial information will be shared agreeing who will bring what financial information to the next meeting.
- Subsequent meetings will deal with each person’s particular priorities and concerns. Other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning or those dealing with children’s issues can become involved to enable mutual agreements to be reached. The meetings will enable you to reach agreement on how the finances will be shared or what arrangements need to be made for any children.
- The final meeting documents the agreements you have reached and practical issues will be addressed. Sometimes a firm timetable for implementation will not be possible, for instance, if the family house needs to be sold. The aim of the process is to build the agreement round your family’s individual timetable and priorities.
We provide legal services and out of court dispute resolution for families through Bridging Point. For more information, please contact Kathryn Ainsworth who is a Resolution trained Collaborative Lawyer on 01442 872311 or by email at [email protected]. Alternatively further general information on collaborative law can be obtained from the Resolution website – www.resolution.org.uk.