Why should I deal with my divorce collaboratively?
- AuthorMelanie Loxley
Collaborative Law is always evolving. Birkett Long’s team of Collaborative Lawyers is excited by the introduction of a new Participation Agreement. This includes provision for a couple dealing with their separation collaboratively, to involve an arbitrator in the event of them facing an obstacle within the negotiations which they struggle to overcome.
This will provide those collaborative cases, where the parties so wish, to agree at the outset that they will involve an arbitrator in the event of an impasse. Arbitrators are specially trained and are usually either practising family solicitors or barristers. They can adjudicate a matter or a discrete issue outside of a formal court setting.
Pre-COVID, the Family Courts were already struggling to cope with the volume of family work that was in the system and extreme delays were very much the norm. These delays have been exacerbated by lockdown.
Whilst the court service has continued to operate during the pandemic, family cases have had to be prioritised in accordance with their urgency and importance. Many cases involving finances have been pulled out of the court list with little, if any notice, at great expense and disappointment to the clients involved.
It is therefore more important than ever to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution. Collaborative Law is the perfect option for those couples that want to deal with the issues that stem from their separation in an amicable and respectful fashion.
Collaborative cases can be dealt with at the speed that suits the parties, rather than under a court timetable that is both slow and unpredictable. Far more creative solutions can be explored collaboratively than those that are traditionally imposed by the court at Trial.
In the event that a collaborative case does hit an impasse, the introduction of arbitration provides much greater flexibility and speed than the prospect of dis-instructing the collaborative lawyers, starting from scratch with new lawyers and applying to the court to commence Financial Remedy Proceedings.
What to expect with a collaborative divorce case
Collaborative cases involve a series of four-way meetings which will involve both parties and their respective collaborative solicitors. Whilst ordinarily those meetings would take place face to face, there is no reason why the meetings cannot take place via Microsoft Teams or Zoom where everyone is happy for them to do so. As restrictions continue to lift, there will be more and more scope for those meetings to take place around a table, even if that is at some distance and subject to wearing a mask.
At Birkett Long, we are committed to dealing with cases in a way that puts the individual family concerned at the centre of the process. If that is an approach that you would value, then please contact one of our team for an initial 15 minute consultation, where we can discuss what it is that you would like to achieve.
I am a collaborative divorce lawyer and can be contacted on 01206 217384 or email@example.com.