Five members of the Mundays family law team are trained collaborative lawyers and we are committed to the collaborative law process.
Collaborative law is an innovative new way of reaching agreement when you separate or divorce. It works like this. You each instruct your own lawyer who is collaboratively trained. A collaborative lawyer has special training and skills. You then embark on a series of face to face round the table meetings - you and your lawyer and your spouse or partner with his or her lawyer. Everyone works together to achieve agreement. You two, rather than the lawyers, remain in control of the process and the outcome. A collaborative agreement includes an agreement not to go to court. In that way everyone involved in the process has an interest in it succeeding. Why it works so well is that it is then possible to talk openly together about all of the possible options and outcomes. It takes away the need for each side to adopt intransigent positions which can sometimes happen if there are court proceedings hindering agreement or compromise.
It is never easy dividing the money, or agreeing where the children will live but this process gives you both the opportunity to “think outside of the box” and possibly come up with a constructive solution to a problem. It means that you can both have legal advice and support throughout the process so you will have confidence that the final outcome is a fair one. There is the option to bring other professionals into the process, for example financial advisors or counsellors to help support or facilitate outcomes. Collaborative law is ideal for couples who still maintain a positive attitude and respect for each other and are committed to reaching a fair outcome and maintaining a good relationship with each other. Sadly this isn’t always the case and if there is still a lot of anger or hurt or one party has been abusive or dishonest this process might not work. It involves complete honesty and openness and if there is a risk that one party might not give proper “disclosure” about their financial circumstances it may be better for the court to be involved. The legal costs involved are often less because there is no correspondence or court hearings. You can find more information about collaborative law and mediation from the Resolution website www.resolution.org.uk or the Surrey Collaborative lawyers website www.collabfamilylawsurrey.co.uk.