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Divorce & Separation

Round Table Meetings

What are Round Table meetings?

Where you, your ex and we lawyers feel it’s a good idea to meet ‘around the table’ or online together. Sometimes this is called ‘Collab Lite’ as those lawyers trained as Collab lawyers may feel your case isn’t suitable for Collaborative process or one of you don’t. Although, often lawyers who aren’t collaboratively trained will suggest this; they will act as lawyers in the normal way and will be positional, tactical and won’t share their advice with everyone. You may use the meetings to decide the following:

  1. The way forward in the case. e.g. financial disclosure or appointment of experts and timescales for work to be done;
  2. To agree interim arrangements;
  3. To negotiate a settlement ‘in person’;
  4. To sign off legally binding documents.


Make sure you ask both lawyers to sign up to a principled and ethical process. That all involved will be civilised and deeply helpful.

You and your lawyers ought to sign up to a code of conduct or a round table agreement at the outset.


  1. Speed - it can be very quick.
  2. Can be cheaper as it cuts down on letter/email writing between the solicitors.
  3. If it doesn’t work you can still issue your application at court. But you will know by now this is my least favourable option. 


Unless the other lawyer is Collaboratively trained, they will behave as they normally do. This means they are likely to be tactical, positional and will not share their legal advice. This can make settlement less likely.

How to prepare?

  1. Do the homework set (e.g., financial disclosure) in good time for the meetings.
  2. Do try to be open minded. Don’t get hung up on your ‘best case’. You will both have a ‘best case’ and they are rarely compatible.

Could this work with another non-court process?

  • Child Inclusive Mediation: to speak and listen to the children to see how they are and to feedback to the collaborative team
  • Early Neutral Evaluation: if your lawyers disagree on the law then instruct a neutral lawyer who will give a view of what they think a court would do
  • Private FDR: if you have all the information you need you could agree to get the view of a private FDR Judge. See the chapter on Private FDR’s for more information
  • Arbitration: you may not be able to agree on some or all issues. An arbitrator can be appointed to make a legally binding award (which is then converted to a court order)