Collaborative Law

The firm does not offer the services of collaboratively trained lawyers, but it is important for clients to be aware that this is an option available to them and to understand the costs and implications of using this process, in order to make an informed choice.

Collaborative law is a voluntary, confidential dispute resolution process used as an alternative to court proceedings, family law arbitration, family mediation or negotiation between solicitors. The parties each instruct collaboratively trained solicitors (also known as collaborative lawyers). The parties and their collaboratively trained lawyers must sign a participation agreement committing them all to resolve the dispute without involving the court, except to approve and formalise any agreement reached.

The dispute is resolved by without prejudice negotiations conducted through a series of four-way meetings between the parties and their collaboratively trained solicitors. The parties and their collaborative solicitors attend each four-way meeting. The parties retain control over the process (from venue to the frequency and scheduling of the four-way meetings) and whether or not to settle the dispute and on what terms.

It is a private forum where the parties can explore settlement options, narrow or resolve issues in dispute. The process can be used to resolve any family or relationship-related issue, including pre and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. It is commonly used to deal with financial disputes concerning children, spouses or civil partners on separation, breakdown of marriage or civil partnership. It can also be used to resolve property disputes between former cohabitees and financial arrangements for children of unmarried parents on separation or relationship breakdown.

It is not suitable where there has been domestic violence or where one party cannot or will not be represented or there is a significant imbalance of power in a relationship. It is unlikely to be appropriate if mediation has been unsuccessful or where the issue between the parties is a binary one of fact requiring the inquisitorial engagement of the court to determine.

If a successful settlement is reached in the CL process, the lawyers will draft any necessary documents for submission to and approval by the court. The lawyers will issue proceedings to bring the legal relationship between the parties to an end as required and to obtain a consent order setting out the agreement reached.

If the process does not result in settlement, the collaborative lawyers cannot continue to act. Each party must terminate the retainer with their collaborative lawyer. Depending on the remaining issues in dispute, the parties can either instruct new lawyers or act in person. In such circumstances Manders Law can assist you.

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