It may not be easy but I've seen very tricky issues resolved using the methods I advocate...
The traditional divorce at its worst:
Myself and the other lawyers will listen and acknowledge you both. We will manage the process constructively by creating options, negotiating and managing any conflict. We will both give legal advice as part of the process, so it’s in context, and it’s constructive. There is rarely shouting but sometimes there can be silence. The silence is good because it helps all of us process what we’ve just heard and to move forward. We meet together in 4 way meetings (round table meetings) to an agreed agenda. Everything is openly disclosed in good faith and discussed. Myself and the other lawyer may meet/telephone each other to try to move things forward positively or to narrow issues; often it is useful for us to debrief each other and to help us prepare for the next 4 way. I will debrief you after each 2 and 4 way meeting. Either I or the other lawyer will write the minutes of each meeting which are then agreed. It is common for all of us to agree homework that we will each complete ahead of the next meeting.
Some of my clients worry about seeing their ex. Such feelings are normal and to be expected after the break- up of a relationship. It’s not easy but rest assured the lawyers and the process itself will hold you. We can discuss short term concerns and reach agreement around those as well as gearing up for eventual resolution of all issues.
Every case is different. I have reached agreement within a 2 hour meeting. Another case has taken a year from start to finish. Both timescales suited the couples involved. On average the process takes around 5 – 6 months but the legal processes can take slightly longer. This is much quicker than the traditional divorce.
To determine whether Collaborative Practice is right for you, ask yourself whether these values are important to you:
If you can say "yes" to these basic principles, then Collaborative Practice may be for you.
In the Collaborative Participation Agreement everyone, including the lawyers, agree not to go to court . This prevents me from ever representing you in Court if the collaborative process ends without reaching an agreement. back to top
I helped set up the local pod of solicitors who practice Collaboratively, this is known as Brightpod.
If you feel that Collaborative practice is the process to use then point your ex partner to this website (if s/he lives or works in the area of Brighton and Hove) to choose a lawyer of their own. Otherwise, a list of Collaboratively trained lawyers nationwide is available at www.resolution.org.uk.
I was a member of Q'Pod, which is a practice group (POD) made up of fellow lesbian and gay lawyers from across England; this has now been disbanded.
I helped to set up Sussex Family Solutions (SFS) which is an integrative approach to helping separating families. SFS is made up of Family Consultants, financial and pension experts. Family Consultants work to help all of us to work together constructively by working with us on the emotions that can sometimes get in the way. See the cartoon below which I hope helps to explain this novel way of working.