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Collaborative Law

Our highly qualified Solicitors will be by your side to ensure Family Disputes are resolved amicably for all concerned.

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Collaborative Law Solicitors for Family Disputes

Collaborative Law is a new approach to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational manner through mutual problem solving and collaboration.

In this situation both parties work with their solicitors to reach agreements without the threat of court proceedings.  The approach relies on all parties being honest and open in their discussions and can be very effective in removing the stress and costs associated with the court room.  It can also help reduce the emotional cost on couples and their children when families split up.

Our Family Team can discuss whether Collaborative Law is the best option for you.


What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law is a process that a couple can use to help them through a separation or divorce in an amicable manner. It is a voluntary and entirely confidential process which involves you and your former partner sitting down with a collaboratively trained family lawyer to work things out, face to face. You each work with your solicitors, working out the best solutions for you and your family without conflict.

If necessary, the collaborative process can also involve other third party professionals, such as financial or mortgage advisors, pension specialists, or counsellors. The process is entirely tailored to you and your former partner to enable you both to reach an amicable resolution in the best interests of your family.

It relies on all parties being honest and open in their discussions, and it can be very effective in removing the stress and costs associated with the Court process. It can also help reduce the emotional cost on couples and their children when families split. You and your former partner, as well as each of your collaborative solicitors, sign a participation agreement which confirms you will all work together with the upmost trust and respect, being open and honest throughout, and committed to reaching a resolution by agreement rather than conflict. The agreement disqualifies your solicitors from being able to represent you in court if the process breaks down.

Your collaborative solicitors can also help you to put your arrangements into legally binding documents or Court orders, where appropriate. They can also help you to implement any agreements that you have reached as well.


What is the aim of Collaborative Law?

To assist you both in resolving all matters arising out of your separation in a dignified and respectful way for the benefit of the whole family.


How does Collaborative Law work?

You and your partner instruct separate, independent, specially trained Collaborative lawyers, who will assist you in resolving issues without going to court.

Your Collaborative Lawyer acts for you, providing legal advice and guidance throughout the process, but working with your partner and his/her lawyer as part of a team, to help achieve an amicable resolution.

  • You, your partner, and your lawyers agree to work together in a respectful, honest and dignified way.
  • You sign an agreement confirming you will not apply to Court, and if you do have to do so, your Collaborative Lawyers cannot continue to act for you in Court proceedings.
  • Issues are discussed and hopefully resolved in 'four-way' face-to-face meetings between you, your partner and your lawyers.
  • Discussions take place in your presence, you and your partner remain in charge of the process, and you work with your lawyers as a team to reach a resolution.

The Collaborative Law process is confidential and voluntary. It is often quicker and more cost effective than the Court process, and enables you and your partner to remain in charge of the decisions being made.


What is a ‘four-way’ meeting?

A 'four-way' meeting is where you and your partner sit in a meeting with your Collaborative Lawyers to discuss the issues you wish to resolve.

An agenda is set before the meeting by your Collaborative Lawyers, taking into account the issues you both wish to discuss.

You and your partner have a duty to provide full, frank and open financial disclosure. You both can agree what documentation and information you want to see within the Collaborative process.

Sometimes it is helpful to have assistance from other professionals such as counsellors, pension advisors and financial specialists. You can discuss and agree within the meeting what additional help and support, if any, you both want to have.


Is Collaborative Family Law the best choice for me?

Collaborative Family Law is not for every client, but it is worth considering if some of the following are important to you:

  • You want a dignified, non-aggressive resolution of the issues.
  • You and your partner have children and wish to reach a resolution by agreement with their needs and interests being your priority.
  • You do not wish to incur the costs and animosity often generated by court proceedings.
  • You would like to keep open, good relations with your partner in the future.
  • You value retaining control over decisions about your financial arrangements or arrangements in relation to your children.
  • You do not wish to 'hand over' decision making to either your lawyer or to a court.
  • Your aim is not to 'seek revenge', but to achieve a fair and amicable resolution for the best interests of the family.
  • You need the assistance of a lawyer to help you negotiate in face-to-face meetings and you want the benefit of independent legal advice.

What happens if my partner/spouse does not give full and frank financial disclosure, or undertake the Collaborative Family Law process in good faith?

Under the terms of the collaborative agreement, the Lawyer must withdraw from acting from their client if he/she has withheld or misrepresented information intentionally, or is participating in the process in bad faith. Likewise, it is open to your Collaborative Family Lawyer to advise you to withdraw from the process if they do not consider that your partner (or indeed their lawyer) is keeping to the terms of the agreement.

If you consider that your partner will not be honest during the collaborative process, then Collaborative Family Law is unlikely to be a good choice for you.

Why can’t I go to court retaining my existing lawyers if my partner / spouse and I fail to reach an agreement?

The reason that Collaborative Family Law has been so successful, is the fact that the lawyers are disqualified from acting for the client should collaboration fail. The disqualification agreement means that all the parties, including the lawyers and clients, are attempting to achieve settlement without threatening or being subject to the threat of court proceedings when things become difficult.

You are collaborating without the background of potential court litigation, and lawyers are encouraged to work together in assisting you to reach settlement.

By agreeing at the outset not to go to court, your partner and the lawyers can be encouraged to reach creative settlements.


Can my partner / spouse and I use the same Collaborative Lawyer?

No. Both you and your partner need to instruct separate, independent Collaborative lawyers. It is not possible for one Lawyer to act for both parties going through a separation or relationship breakdown, and there is a possibility there would be a serious conflict of interests.


Can any lawyer help with Collaborative Law?

Only certain lawyers are Collaboratively trained and able to enter into the Collaborative law process with you. It is important if you are considering using Collaborative law to speak to someone who is fully trained and qualified so that they can talk to you about the process, how it works, and help you decide if it is right for you. 

  • Laura Jones
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  • Lauren Power
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Is Collaborative Law the right process for me?

Collaborative law is an option for you and your ex partner to meet together in a safe and supported atmosphere with qualified, independent, collaboratively trained solicitors. It allows you the option to make decisions and arrangements for the best interests of your family in an amicable way. Collaborative law works for lots of people, but it isn’t always right for everybody. It can be especially helpful where parents need to sort out how they can best raise their children, even though they will no longer be living together, or where a couple wish to remain as amicable as possible, even after separating.

Our qualified, experienced family team will be able to talk to you about all of the options available to you, including collaborative law, to enable you to make an information decision about what is best for you and your family.



Contact our Collaborative Law Solicitors

If you are going through a divorce or separation, or any family law dispute, our Collaborative Law Solicitors are here to ensure you reach an amicable and swift resolution. Rowlinsons Family Law Solicitors in Cheshire are highly qualified, and our firm has been consistently recognised as one of the leading family law teams in the UK for years.

With our Collaborative Law Solicitors by your side, you can rest assured you have the support of a leading expert, and member of the Law Society's Family Law panel.

We have offices in Frodsham and Sutton Weaver,  and support client across St Helens, Widnes, Warrington, Chester, and Northwich. We also have meeting facilities in North Wales, the Wirral, Liverpool, Manchester and across Cheshire, so we are always available to help, wherever you are in the country and whatever your legal needs are.

To find out more about Collaborative Law, and how it can work for you, please Contact us for an initial no obligation call or click here for a call back. We also have meeting facilities in Colwyn Bay for Family Law clients.