Divorce Aid recommends the collaborative approach
Divorce Aid recommends solicitors who practise Collaborative law, a process by which specially trained lawyers undertake to agree your case without going to court. Agreements are still 'rubber stamped' at court. This is a new way to resolve divorce and family disputes with dignity and respect. As you may have come to realise, divorce can take an immense toll on your family, time and emotions. Financial resources are often sacrificed when they could be put to better use. If agreement cannot be reached, the original solicitors will not proceed to court.
How does collaborative law differ from the normal process?
This new dignified approach allows couples to work as a team with trained professionals in order to resolve disputes with respect for each other and without going to court. You both have the support, protection and guidance of your own lawyer who is able to call in other experts such as child specialists, counsellors, financial specialists or accountants as part of your own divorce team.
How can the Collaborative approach assist with financial arguments?
This process can assist with any problem areas in divorce and finances are a key area of dipute which could be resolved quicker and easier than going to court.
Is it like mediation?
No. The collaborative practice proactively guides the couple to reach an agreement and moves forwward the decision making process, the spouses and the lawyers working closely as a team. In mediation, the mediator does not advise or represent the clients and they need to seek advice from their solicitors during the process.
Are there any cost savings?
This is a fairly new process, started here in 2003 but widespread in Canada and USA, but the main savings are seen in the reduction of solicitors' correspondence as most things are done verbally around the table. Paperwork is generally kept tp points of agreement and a list of matters to be discussed at the next meeting. As well as reducing legal costs, it also reduces the heartache and antagonism which go hand in hand with marriage breakdown. In many cases, it is not the divorce that does so much harm to families but the way people divorce.
What can I expect at a meeting?
Meetings are held with the two of you and your solicitors so that this is a four-way face to face series of meetings. You will of course both have separate meetings with your own solicitor before the process starts. You are in control and all information is disclosed during this process. This way, there is a much greater chance of achieving a settlement, especially when both parties wish to resolve matters when there are children involved. If agreement is not reached, new lawyers would have to be appointed to progress matters through court.
What are the advantages of the Collaborative approach?
It is dignified and non-aggressive
Children's interests can be kept at the forefront
Court costs can be avoided
You may both be able to maintain amicable contact re family, friends and children
You can maintain some control over events with the protection of expert advice
You don't have to let a judge decide on these important matters
Neither of you is out to seek revenge
Is Collaborative law for everyone?
No, it is not for everyone but should be considered. Email us some information about your situation and nearest large town and we can arrange an appointment for you. We would need your full name and address and contact number and also for your spouse. Please note that you would both have had to agree on this process which is not available on legal aid.
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