About Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is a process that originated in the United States, but has been brought to the United Kingdom by Resolution, the national association of family lawyers. All our solicitors are members of Resolution. Resolution lawyers subscribe to a code of practice that requires them to deal with all family cases in a non-confrontational way, avoiding inflammatory language and conduct and using court proceedings as a last resort.

Learn more about Resolution members and what they can do for you in this video:

The Collaborative process takes this idea one step further. Where a case can be dealt with in this way, both parties will instruct Collaborative lawyers who will then draft an agreement known as the Participation Agreement. This document governs your case and has many important features:

  • Neither party should, where possible, go over past events
  • The welfare of any children must be the priority in any discussions
  • All legal advice should, where possible, be shared openly
  • There should be complete transparency in dealings, both in respect of financial matters and any children
  • All discussions to settle the case are “privileged” meaning they cannot be brought up later in a subsequent court case
  • Both parties and the lawyers sign the agreement
  • If the discussions completely break down and court proceedings need to be issued, the Collaborative lawyers must not act any further and new lawyers must be instructed

All matters are then resolved in a series of “four-way” meetings involving both parties and their solicitors, all in one room together.

The Collaborative process is not designed to be like the classic “round-table” confrontations that are portrayed in films and television. Instead you will be dealing with sympathetic, highly competent, trained lawyers who are also human and approachable and will understand what you are going through.

Why does it work?

Collaborative Law works because the priority is to resolve matters your way, not how the lawyers think it should be resolved. The welfare of your children and your hopes and aims in resolving the case are the priority.

It also works because we, as a group, have mutual respect for each other and our skills and beliefs. It is critical that the lawyers get on as a foundation for civilised, calm and constructive discussions.

What sort of cases can be dealt with in this way?

Not all situations suit Collaborative Law eg where there has been domestic abuse or a party is not willing to be transparent in the way they deal with things. However the Collaborative process can help resolve issues including:

  • Divorce and resolving financial settlements
  • Pre and Post-Nuptial agreements
  • Separation of cohabiting couples, including property disputes
  • Child disputes – residence (custody) and contact (access), both for parents and other family members
  • Dissolution of civil partnerships and financial settlements
  • Cohabitation or “living together” agreements
  • Financial settlements for children that do not involve the CSA

You can read more about the process by visiting Resolution’s website, by clicking here.

Do also get in touch by email, telephone or in person if you want us to clarify anything. Our details can be found here.

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