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Email: alun@ajonesfamilylaw.com
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Collaborative Overview

Collaborative Practice allows for the real concerns of the people involved to be heard, and taken notice of, in a way that is not possible in the more traditional Court based system. Collaborative Practice provides the clients with their own voice and real control over the outcome of their case whilst at the same time helping them to see things from their former partner’s perspective and from the children’s perspective, if they have them.

Each party appoints a collaboratively trained Lawyer to represent them within the process. The Lawyer/Lawyer relationship is key to a successful collaborative case.  Ideally, 2 Lawyers who will already know each other and work well with each other will be the best team, although that is not to say that Lawyers who do not know each other cannot work well together. It is vital that you check that your Lawyer is collaboratively trained. You can find a list of the collaboratively trained Lawyers on the Resolution website here www.resolution.org.uk/find_a_member also visit our POD Group website www.collaborativelawwales.co.uk

Anchor Statements and Participation Agreements are documents which are unique to the collaborative approach to resolving disputes. Essentially, the Anchor Statements are prepared by the separating couple (and indeed the participating collaborative Lawyers) at the very outset of the process. These are statements of the individuals’ highest hopes and aspirations for the collaborative process and their families’ post separation life. The Anchor Statements keep everyone focussed on each party’s goals and they would typically address 2 aspects:-

  1. They way in which the negotiations might take place.
  2. The outcome itself.

The 4-way Participation Agreement is another vital part of the collaborative process. It confirms the way in which the negotiations and dealings between the parties and their Lawyers will be conducted and specifically sets out the following –

  1. Each participant will do all they can to try and resolve matters without going to Court.
  2. If the process breaks down the 2 Collaborative Lawyers will be able to play no further part in any future Court proceedings. This is known as the Disqualification Clause.

Another hallmark of the collaborative process is that all the work is done through a series of 4-way, face to face meetings. This is very beneficial in that it enables the parties to set the agenda and ensures that everyone is aware about what is important in the negotiations. Nothing is hidden from you or your former partner. There are no behind the scenes negotiations. Important issues can be articulated by you and heard by everyone. It is possible to build a rapport with and establish trust in your Lawyer. You can ask questions and hear the way they are answered. You can also ask for further clarification then and there. The process moves at your pace. There is no need for lengthy/aggressive letters between Lawyers. There is little room for misunderstandings and any misunderstandings are dealt with immediately.

Most importantly, the collaborative approach does not involve any contested Court proceedings. The only Court involvement with which the collaborative Lawyers will be involved will be to deal with the legal formalities of the divorce and to approve the financial settlement reached between the couple. This “no Court” rule enables the parties to have some freedom to be open and transparent in the negotiations without any fear that the other party and their Lawyer may decide to start Court proceedings and use any statement made within the collaborative process within any future Court proceedings. Openness and transparency are the keys to the success of the collaborative process. Both parties must be prepared to trust, or to develop trust in the other party, to be open and honest. Transparency creates trust and working in an open way like this is very likely to improve how you are able to communicate with the other in the future and the benefit this undoubtedly provides in relation to children.

Other experts can be introduced to the collaborative process, such as – Family and Child Consultants – IFA’s – Accountants – Valuers – Pension Experts – Mediators – Barristers.

For further information about Collaborative Practice telephone us on 02920 023 222. If you want to make an appointment to discuss Collaborative Practice click here or email Alun at alun@ajonesfamilylaw.com

 

Collaborative    Collaborative FAQ