A Collaborative Approach to Family Law
Family law is a particularly emotive and sensitive area of the law and, at times, family lawyers can be subjected to unwarranted negative publicity. You may well have heard such comments as “I cannot afford to instruct my solicitor to deal with my divorce” or “my wife’s solicitor is just making things worse to make more money out of the case”.
It could be partly due to this perception, as well as a need to offer alternative options for resolving disputes, that the judiciary and family lawyers are increasingly promoting and encouraging non-court based dispute resolution methods to assist in resolving issues arising from relationship breakdown.
GA’s family team is able to provide mediation and team members, Julia Robson and Ian Downing, are Collaborative lawyers, trained by Resolution the specialist family lawyers association.
The collaborative law process offers a non-court focused method of resolving issues arising from a relationship breakdown including divorce, disputes regarding arrangements for children, financial issues and civil partnership dissolution.
The process is based around a series of meetings at which the collaborative lawyers and the couple discuss and resolve their issues, with the lawyers assisting and advising the couple together. Each person has their own lawyer, but the lawyers work together to encourage honest communication between the couple at meetings.
The couple and the lawyers will sign a Participation Agreement at the beginning of the process confirming that they will not use or threaten court proceedings. The focus is therefore to resolve the issues without lengthy and costly court proceedings.
Both Julia and Ian are firm believers in the collaborative law process as they have seen the positive outcomes achieved. The couples remain in control of the process which promotes transparency, with meetings being conducted in a respectful atmosphere. The client will also benefit from certainty with regards to cost at a time when finances will undoubtedly be stretched.
The most positive outcome is that the collaborative law process enables couples who are parents to resolve issues in a way that allows them to continue to work together and communicate in the future for the benefit of the children.
The lawyers are working together rather than embarking on what some might describe as ‘divorce warfare’. By continuing to assist couples in this way family lawyers can strive to change public perception and to illustrate that they are here to help and assist at what will be for most clients a very challenging and difficult time in their lives.
Julia Robson and Ian Downing are happy to provide further information or initial advice with regard to the collaborative law process and leaflets prepared by the Plymouth collaborative lawyers group, Plympod, are also available from the family team.
Should you want to find out more, please contact Julia on 01752 513571, or by emailing julia.robson@GAsolicitors.com
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