Divorce can be a lengthy and expensive process, and it can result in relationships breaking down even further, to the detriment of any children involved. Couples in the unfortunate situation of divorce are increasingly seeking Dispute Resolution methods such as collaborative law, rather than facing the stress and high legal costs associated with going to court.
Collaborative Law is a relatively new form of Dispute Resolution that allows divorcing couples to engage in open conversation with their solicitors present, in order to seek a satisfactory outcome. This takes place through a series of four-way meetings between the couple and their respective solicitors. Five reasons why this method can work for divorcing couples are set out below.
Control over the process
Collaborative Law is conducted using a four-way discussion approach. The couple meet with their solicitors and engage in open dialogue. In mediation, by contrast, the couple communicate with a mediator separately and have their points communicated for them back and forth by the mediator, with a view to reaching an agreement. By allowing you to engage directly in conversation, Collaborative Law gives you more direct control over the on-going process of the divorce.
Couples in the divorce process sometimes feel that the divorce is taken out of their control, especially in the formal setting of court. Through Collaborative Law, solicitors are present throughout the process to offer guidance and advice on the legal aspects of your divorce. However, you can lead the discussions and each party can speak openly when they wish.
A Less Time Consuming Approach
Reaching a divorce through court can take over a year to complete. Collaborative Law may speed up the process by allowing couples to meet and discuss the key issues without having to wait for court dates. Also, the direct nature of the four-way meetings saves time, as communications are in person instead of over the phone or through letters.
Although Collaborative Law is not the cheapest method of Dispute Resolution, it can be significantly less expensive than going to court. Due to its time consuming nature, going through court has high legal costs and is not a cost efficient method of Dispute Resolution. If an agreement can be reached through Collaborative Law, this might make the process quicker, and therefore less expensive.
Avoiding a Further Breakdown of the Relationship
Instead of communicating by post or over the telephone, Collaborative Law requires the divorcing couple to discuss the relevant issues and seek a solution in person. At the beginning of the process you must agree with your spouse to have the discussions in good faith. You must also agree to be honest and courteous throughout the discussions and avoid bringing up past grievances.
Due to the commitment to negotiate in good faith, Collaborative Law can be a good option for people who want to maintain a positive relationship after the divorce. This is especially beneficial when children are involved. However, if the relationship has already broken down to the point where a courteous and honest, constructive discussion is not possible, Collaborative Law might not be right for you.
Collaborative law offers Creative Solutions
Through Collaborative Law, you can discuss the logistics of solutions that will work for you and your family as a whole. By engaging in a constructive face-to-face discussion, it is possible to find an arrangement that will work in practice, resulting in a settlement that is tailored to the realities of your specific family situation. This method only works if both parties are prepared to make compromises and seek the best outcome for everyone involved.
Although a collaborative law approach won’t be right for every couple going through a marriage breakdown, it offers significant advantages if the circumstances are right. Here at TM Family Law, we can explore all forms of dispute resolution with our clients, including mediation and collaborative law, to find the right route for you and your situation. If you are considering divorce, get in touch today to talk through the options.