Separating from your Partner?

Collaborative Law is a non-adversarial approach…

As we know Covid has taken a huge toll on relationships, and the number of couples who are separating or divorcing is climbing.

Many of these couples realised that their relationship had just come to a natural ending.  They want to preserve as much as possible their relationship moving forward, they want to preserve as much of their assets base as they can, and they want to put the needs of the children first.  The last thing they want is a legal battle.  The perception unfortunately is that separation and divorce is an acrimonious process.  These are the ones we see in the media, and the war stories we hear from friends that have gone through the process.

I am sure you have also heard stories of couples who want to separate amicably, everything is going along fine… until the lawyers get involved.  Don’t get me wrong, not every lawyer is adversarial, there are some amazing Property Relationship barristers and lawyers who can resolve things without acrimony.

But there is a better way. It’s called Collaborative Law.

So, what is Collaborative Law? Fundamentally, its working in partnership, (the couple, their lawyers and other experts), towards a no court separation and divorce.  Both you and your partner work with a specialist who is collaboratively trained family lawyer.

At the start of the process, you both sign an agreement that you will work together as a team to resolve issues without going to court. You agree to respect each other both in the meetings and outside of them.  Confidentiality is also very clearly spelt out in the agreement.

There are no legal letters flying back and forth which seems to slow the process down.  Settlement is reached in face to face (or online) meetings with the two of you and your lawyers.  This gives you control of the process; your legal team are there to support and give advice when it’s needed.

This is a problem-solving approach.  Your needs, your children’s needs and your financial needs are front and centre in the process.  You each openly express your personal needs (and those of your children) to enable you to move forward, and then brainstorm on how those can be achieved in the settlement process.  There is no ‘he said’, ‘she said’ ‘the lawyer said’ confusion as all parties attend all the meetings so everyone has the same information at the same time.

Your emotional state is important.  Often one of you is further ahead emotionally in the separation process than the other.  The Collaborative process allows time for emotions to settle, it may be that you need to take a break so you can both be in a less emotive state when you attend the meetings.

You can be creative in how you approach your settlement; you aren’t leaving the decision in the hands of a judge who decides based on cross examination and strict application of the law.  Don’t worry, your legal team will make sure the settlement is recorded in a legally binding way.  As well as your legal team there are other Collaboratively trained specialists that can be called upon to help. One of these specialists is a Finance Neutral (Lynda Moore, The Money Mentalist is one of these), they are there to help understand your financial position, put budgets in place and work with you both to determine the financial impact of the various settlement ideas that you have.  There are also Divorce coaches who can help with parenting plans, and mental health professionals.

The Collaborative process can save you time, stress and money, and it will take as long as you need it to take.

Collaborative Law is a way to work through your separation and divorce and come out the other side emotionally and financially intact.  As Joseph Joubert said, “Never cut what you can untie”.  That’s what collaborative law does.

Article provided by Lynda Moore, The Money Mentalist

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