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Collaborative family lawyers

You may have already decided that you don’t want to end up in a court battle litigating a dispute with your partner but don’t know where to start negotiating a settlement or may have just reached a stalemate. If you’re looking to take a collaborative approach … We use our experience to find the most cost-effective solution for achieving the outcome you want, while our level of involvement is flexible to suit your specific needs.

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law is an alternative to mediation and provides another way of helping you find the best solution for you and your family without the need to go to court.

Like mediation, it empowers you to take control of matters in a more respectful and amicable way. Both parties are fully supported by their own lawyer who is collaboratively trained.

All parties – and their lawyers – commit to resolving matters without going to court.

The process fosters cooperation and amicable dispute resolution, enabling you to navigate legal issues without the hostility and expense associated with traditional litigation but with the benefit of ongoing legal advice and support throughout.

When should I consider using a Collaborative Family Lawyer?

The process requires a commitment on the part of both of you to achieving a positive and fair outcome. In many respects the couple still need to be able to function well together.

You can only collaborate where both lawyers are trained in Collaborative Law. Therefore, if one person has already instructed a non-collaboratively trained lawyer and refuses to change representation, the process cannot go ahead.

While Collaborative Law offers many advantages, it may not be suitable for all situations such as where there has been a history of domestic abuse.

What are the benefits of Collaborative Law?

  • We are specialists. All our collaborative lawyers are highly experienced family lawyers in both finance and children cases with outstanding reputations for helping couples find swift resolutions to what otherwise might seem overwhelming family problems.
  • Collaborative Law aims to maintain or even strengthen relationships between the parties involved, especially essential in family disputes. Litigation can sometimes escalate into conflict and strain relationships.
  • Litigation can be costly, with legal fees and the potential for lengthy legal battles. Collaborative Law is often more cost-effective, as it streamlines the resolution process and reduces unnecessary expenses.
  • Collaborative Law empowers parties to craft their own tailored solutions rather than relying on a judge's decision. This results in outcomes that better align with the unique needs and priorities of your family.
  • Collaborative Law often leads to quicker resolutions, enabling parties to move forward with their lives sooner than would be the case with litigation.
  • The Collaborative Law process is typically confidential, fostering a safe environment for open dialogue and negotiation.
  • The process is generally less emotionally taxing than courtroom battles, making it particularly beneficial in cases involving children or sensitive issues.

Frequently asked questions 

  • How does Collaborative Law work?

    If you both, with your prospective lawyers, agree that the Collaborative process will be the right process for you then the following will usually take place:

    • There will be an individual meeting with your respective collaborative lawyers to discuss what to expect, your priorities and goals and what each will need to do to prepare for the first meeting when everyone is together - often referred to as a ‘four way meeting’ as they include the couple and two lawyers.


    • Ahead of the first ‘four way meeting’ the two lawyers will discuss and agree the agenda.


    • At the first ‘four way meeting’ the couple and lawyers will sign a participation agreement reflecting their commitment to working together to find the best solution without having to go to court. The couple will then be invited to share their reasons for choosing the Collaborative process in what is often termed an Anchor Statement that is prepared in advance.


    • Depending on your priorities, in financial cases you may then go on to discuss how financial information is to be collected and shared; whether any valuation or other reports may be needed and if so how they will be obtained. You will then both agree the agenda for the following meeting.


    • Where there are issues relating to children discussions may begin with how they have responded to the separation and whether any steps could be taken in the short term to improve the situation for them.


    • Subsequent meetings will deal with your priorities and concerns. This may involve working with other professional support either within the meetings or in parallel to them in order to help you both reach an agreement on how the finances will be shared or what arrangements will need to be made for any children.


    • Where an agreement is reached the lawyers will prepare for the final meeting the documents detailing the arrangements which once signed will then be put into effect by making them legally binding.


  • What is a Four Way Meeting?

    This is a joint meeting including both parties and their respective lawyers. It may sometimes involve working with other professionals, perhaps financial advisors, accountants, counsellors or coaches.

  • What other professionals might get involved?

    Other professional support may be brought in such as a family consultant or financial adviser to form part of the wider team. Together they will help you to plan the best way forward for your family.

  • How long does the collaborative process take?

    Like Mediation and One Couple One Lawyer, the Collaborative process is not driven by a court imposed timetable. The meetings will follow agendas set by the parties and therefore tailored around your family’s individual timetable and priorities. Sometimes only a couple of meetings are needed, in other cases it will be more.

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