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Information about Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new legal phenomenon, having only been around for the past twenty years. Basically, it’s an attempt to get divorcing couples to sit down with their lawyers and come to a negotiated settlement instead of going through court proceedings to ‘air their dirty linen’.

The Process

All parties commit themselves to finding an agreeable outcome, while at the same time foregoing the right to resort to litigation during the discussions. Should the discussions fail to reach an outcome that is satisfactory to all sides, the lawyers concerned stand down and take no further part, meaning the divorcing parties have to retain new lawyers for the litigation battle ahead.

Aiming for An Agreeable Settlement

The purpose and aim of collaborative divorce is to seek a negotiated settlement, starting from a standpoint of common interest and benefit, without the usual metaphoric throwing of sticks and stones. Both sides’ lawyers are duty bound to help find an acceptable agreement, be constructive at all times and not engage in petty point scoring. The meetings are always four-way affairs, with each party allowed to express their own feelings in their own words about whatever issues concern them. Once an agreement is reached, it is signed and filed for a judge’s approval in court.

Protecting Families

Collaborative divorce is particularly suitable for those with a family as it deals with not just the legal side of things, but also the emotional. It protects the children from having to see their parents do battle in a legal arena, behaving in an unbecoming manner and saying things that can distress them.

When it Doesn't Work

Collaborative divorce, however, doesn’t suit everyone. It’s only for those who want to work with their soon-to-be ex-partner to avoid conflict and unpleasantness. Those who feel bitter and can’t accept the fact that the marriage has ended, or wish to ‘score points’ and want to come out feeling like they have ‘won’ are not suited to this process.

How to Proceed

To start a collaborative divorce, both parties agree to the process, then each appoint a suitable lawyer. Next, they meet with their respective lawyers and discuss the case, and provided there are no legal impediments not to do so, proceedings can start with the drawing up and signing of a Participation Agreement, setting out the ground rules.

As all parties are after a win-win situation, everything pertinent to the issues must be disclosed and respect shown at all times to all parties. If agreement is reached and the court process avoided, then both parties make a considerable financial and emotional saving in addition their children being shielded. However, should agreement not be reached, the usual court proceedings will ensue with all the extra heartaches and costs involved.

For those who would like further information about collaborative law, speak to Blanchards Law or visit http://www.blanchardslaw.co.uk/services/mediation/

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