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Collaborative Family Law

Going through a divorce or separation can be made even more stressful where the legal aspects become contentious. Collaborative family law is a constructive solution that aims to reduce conflict and help couples work to find a way through a difficult time without the need for court involvement.

If you choose this type of dispute resolution, you will be represented by a specially trained collaborative law solicitor who will take the time to understand your situation and what your needs and the needs of your family are. The aim is to provide long-lasting solutions that work well for everyone involved, prioritising the needs of children but also ensuring that parents are able to face the future with some certainty.

At Glanvilles, we strongly believe that collaborative family law is often the best option for couples who are separating or divorcing. By avoiding acrimony, the focus and energy can be put into putting the right arrangements in place to benefit all parties. We have a trained collaborative lawyer, senior associate solicitor Charlotte Woodhouse, who is also a member of Resolution, the family law group that is committed to non-confrontational divorce.

Our family team has exceptional experience in resolving family issues by way of alternative dispute resolution. This means that we are usually able to find an acceptable solution without the need for litigation, even in complex situations.

We can use the collaborative law system to resolve issues such as:

  • Divorce financial settlements
  • Arrangements for children
  • Separation for unmarried couples

For more information regarding our services, see our Children, Family and Matrimonial page.

Get in touch with our collaborative law specialists

Give us a call at your local branch in ChichesterFareham or Havant or fill in our simple enquiry form for a quick response.

Why choose us for collaborative law?

Senior Associate Charlotte Woodhouse is a fully qualified collaborative lawyer, meaning we can offer this highly effective form of non-confrontational dispute resolution for a range of matrimonial issues.

Glanvilles holds the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced accreditation in recognition of our exceptional level of expertise in dealing with matrimonial matters, including the division of complex financial assets and international divorce.

Our firm is also accredited in related areas of law for Conveyancing Quality and Wills & Inheritance Quality.

The Glanvilles client service promise

When you work with our divorce solicitors, we promise:

  • Our staff will be friendly, respectful and attentive.
  • Your concerns will be listened to, your questions answered, and your options explained in plain English.
  • The cost of dealing with your requirements will be made clear to you from the outset.
  • We will answer your phone calls and emails promptly.
  • We will keep you regularly updated at all times.

Glanvilles LLP is Lexcel accredited by the Law Society in recognition of our high standards of practice management and client care and is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The Glanvilles guide to collaborative law

What is collaborative law?

Collaborative law is a four-way method of dispute resolution. Each party will instruct a specialist collaborative law solicitor to act on their behalf. They will sign a participation agreement, stating that, among other points, should the process not be successful, they will not use this lawyer for subsequent proceedings.

How does collaborative law work?

Meetings are held with all four parties, the couple and their lawyers, to negotiate agreements in respect of issues such as finances, children, property and separation. It is open to you to involve other experts, such as financial experts or family counsellors, to help you make decisions.

You can set your own agenda and timetable. Once you have reached agreements over the issues in question, these can be put before the court for sealing into a binding consent order so that you can rely on the agreed terms.

What are the advantages of collaborative law?

The process is usually considerably quicker than contested court cases, with decisions often made in three or four months. Using the courts can take a year or two, and delays in the court system could make this even longer. The collaborative law system is flexible, with those involved able to set the pace and arrange meetings at times to suit their schedule.

The shorter timescale means that collaborative law is also far more cost-effective. The parties also have complete control over the system, meaning they can discuss the issues that are important to them. They can be sure that they will not have an unwanted outcome imposed on them, as might be the case with a court hearing. The final result will be one that they have approved.

The fact that there is no court hearing also reduces the stress involved. It can be nerve-wracking to face a day in court and upsetting if you feel that the judge did not adequately consider points that are important to you. With court hearings, there is also a risk that they could be adjourned with very little notice and rescheduled several weeks into the future.

Perhaps the greatest benefit for families, however, is the reduction in conflict. Where children are involved, parents are helped to work together to identify what is in the children’s best interests and are often able to go forward on a much more amicable footing following the collaborative process, working together to parent their family.

Is collaborative law binding?

The agreements made during collaboration can be set out in writing, and the solicitors can ask the court to seal them into binding orders.

What is the difference between collaborative law and mediation?

Mediation involves a single neutral mediator who will help the parties to reach an agreement. A mediator will not provide tailored legal advice to either side, rather they will work with you to discuss the key issues in your divorce or separation and ensure that you know the options that are open to you.

A collaborative lawyer will represent you, provide bespoke legal advice to you and work on your behalf to protect your interests and try to agree on a solution that you will be happy with.

When might collaborative law be the best option?

If there is an imbalance in your relationship and you feel that you could be persuaded to settle on terms that might be less than favourable during mediation, collaboration is likely to be a better option. Your collaborative lawyer will ensure that your rights and interests are protected and will be able to advise you in respect of the proposals put by the other side.

Collaborative law is often the best option where there are children involved. By helping parents to work together to agree upon child arrangements and to consider what will be in their child’s best interests, the level of conflict can be greatly reduced. It is worth reiterating that in collaborative law, you will never be forced to agree to something against your wishes.

A solution reached by way of the collaborative law process, which has been well thought through by both parties and their legal representatives, may have a better chance of being successful in the long term. This is important in respect of issues where some ongoing contact will be necessary, such as arrangements for children or where a couple have joint business dealings.

Collaboration can also simply make the difficult process of splitting up and going your separate ways less painful. Face-to-face meetings where you can both be open and honest and reach agreements for the future will generally reduce conflict, while negotiation conducted by correspondence or litigation can increase it.

Get in touch with our collaborative law specialists

Give us a call at your local branch in ChichesterFareham or Havant or fill in our simple enquiry form for a quick response.