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Collaborative Law – how does it work?

Collaborative lawyers, often in tandem with mediators, offer a 'no court' option for people who are separating. Collaborative law is a method of resolving differences which involves a series of face-to-face meetings with both lawyers (know as four way meetings).

All four people commit, up front, to having open and constructive discussions about the children and money issues, and they also agree not to bring contested court action.

The idea is that the couple, with the help of their lawyers, work through the various options available to them with a view to finding a solution which they themselves create, as opposed to one being imposed by a judge at the end of a long and expensive litigated case. Third party experts (financial and pensions advisors, accountants and so on) can be brought into the meetings on a jointly-instructed basis to give balanced advice to all concerned.

Human nature being what it is, the Collaborative law model should not be seen as an 'easy option: in fact, sitting around a table face to face with one's spouse and talking openly and with dogged determination not to let the thing fall apart is hard work. It takes courage and a real commitment to listening to the other person's point of view without harking back to old arguments. This includes lawyers who, in traditional court cases, have been used to arguing for their client's 'position'. In four-way meetings, both lawyers are committed to understanding both people's viewpoint and to be open to the suggestions anyone makes - regardless of whether that is from their client or not.

Mediation and the Collaborative model does not suit everyone, but for many couples, however fraught things are at the point of separation, the talking method is often better that court. It may not be easy, but it may allow you both to come out of this tough time in your life with your dignity and the knowledge that you both had a hand in creating your own solutions to the issues you face.

For more information on how the collaborative process works please go or contact your local branch of Wards to speak to one of our collaboratively trained solicitors.

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