What is Collaborative Law? Is it the Right Approach for You?


Jane Auty

What is Collaborative Law and why choosing a Collaborative Law Approach to Divorce Could be the Right Approach for You.

Often when couples decide to separate and ultimately divorce there is the expectation that both parties will need to embark on a lengthy and costly legal battle to agree the division of assets, any ongoing maintenance and of course the arrangements for any children.

From our vast experience of representing divorcing clients, the process of attending Court can be very stressful for all parties involved and doesn’t lend itself to the pursuit of an outcome whereby all parties are in agreement with the outcomes. Often the court process fuels confrontation and an ensuing battle which can tarnish the possibility of any reasonable platonic relationship which can be of extreme value where children are involved.

Here at Thornton Jones we encourage divorcing couples to consider taking a collaborative approach. This non-confrontational approach can be a much faster and less stressful experience than choosing to take the matter to court. Typically a collaborative law agreement can be reached in three to four months whereas a contested hearing in court can extend to up to two years. This means that much of the associated stress and costs can be avoided not to mention the closure of a chapter in your life allowing you to move forward sooner.

Why Should I Choose A Collaborative Approach instead of Mediation?

Unlike mediation, a Collaborative Law approach requires each party to have their own independent legal advocates, collaborative lawyers, who can offer advice and can go much further than a neutral, single mediator. Two skilled collaborative lawyers who act as your legal advocates can help both parties reach an outcome seeking a utopic win:win outcome. Your legal advocates are not intended to be neutral, they are intended to be an advocate of you as an individual yet with an eye on the bigger picture using their experience to realise an outcome that is deemed fair to all parties.

If your relationship has broken down to the extent that a mutually agreeable outcome cannot be achieved with the guidance of a neutral mediator, yet you wish to avoid the costs, stress and delays of the court process then a Collaborative Law approach may well be the answer.

If however your relationship is accepted to be over yet suitably amicable to allow constructive discussions to take place with the assistance of a neutral party then mediation may be the right route for you to take. Remembering however that a mediator cannot offer legal advice like collaborative lawyers can and will act solely as a facilitator to the discussions. Often this leads to one of the parties taking a more dominant role in the discussions with the risk of the other party being railroaded. Where this occurs the mediator had the power to end the mediation process statin that mediation in this instance is considered unsuitable.

What if the Collaborative Law Approach Fails?

If a collaborative approach fails then it’s back to the drawing board and both parties need to start again from scratch and part company with their respective lawyers. Often however this acts as an incentive for both parties to reach an agreement.

Here at Thornton Jones we have skilled Collaborative Lawyers who can guide you through the process and we offer a free initial consultation with our Family Law team.

For more information about Collaborative Law, separation and divorce and how we can help then contact us for a free consultation.

☎️ Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
☎️ Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
☎️ Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466

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