Normally, when a marriage ends, the spouses appoint solicitors who conduct negotiations on behalf of the parties at arms-length, either by letter or telephone. The divorce process can drag on for a long time and, in many cases, causes needless delay, frustration, and acrimony.
The collaborative family law process offers an alternative.
The fundamental objective of collaborative law is to resolve disputes without going to court. It is a relatively new way of handling divorce. Each spouse still appoints a solicitor, but instead of negotiating through others or at a distance, the spouses meet to work things out face-to-face. The solicitors remain by their sides throughout, however, and therefore both spouses benefit from legal advice.
A recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour argues that the extreme stress that accompanies a break up means divorced people are more likely to suffer from cancer, diabetes or heart disease than their married friends. Collaborative family law has been touted by many as a way to minimise stress and stress-induced health issues.
Other advantages of collaborative family law include:
- It's designed to be a non-adversarial and civilised process, so the parties are less likely to become embittered or spiteful
- It helps the parties maintain amicable contact, not only with each other, but also with shared contacts, such as friends, each other's families, children, etc
- It gives the parties more control over events, while also providing the protection of expert legal advice
- The parties can avoid passing the case to a judge to arbitrarily decide important matters
- It's generally cheaper than going to court and pursuing a traditional divorce
- It's more likely a final agreement is reached amicably and both parties can live with the agreement in the years ahead
Of course, collaborative law may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it should at least be considered.
** Additional Advice & Information **
Depending on your circumstances, however, you may want to speak with a solicitor who specialises in family law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.