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Collaborative Law Looks Set to Revolutionise the Resolution of Family Issues

Collaborative family law is an exciting new idea in the UK.  It is growing rapidly and looks set to revolutionise for many people the way in which family issues are resolved.

So, what exactly is collaborative law?  Traditionally, the options available to separating couples have either been mediation or traditional negotiation and litigation.  Collaborative law offers a “third way”.  The parties each appoint their own lawyer, but instead of conducting negotiations by letter or by phone, all discussions take place at meetings to work issues out face to face.

This means the parties each have their lawyers by their side throughout the process. The parties have continuous support and legal advice as matters proceed. 

Collaborative lawyers sign an agreement with their clients which disqualifies them from representing the client in court if the collaborative process breaks down.   The effect of this agreement means that the lawyers are absolutely committed to helping find the best solutions for the parties by agreement, rather than through conflict.

Sometimes only a couple of meetings are needed - on other occasions four or five.  The meetings follow agendas set by the parties themselves and their lawyers.   This is an effective way of giving the individuals control over the process and ensures that the issues which are important to them are discussed and dealt with.

Locally, the Shropshire Lawyers Collaborative Group is a collection of like-minded, specialist trained family solicitors.

The revolutionary concept is that although from different firms, lawyer members of this group work collectively to promote the collaborative model as a civilised, non adversarial process to enable separating couples to resolve children and financial issues by agreement, rather than the court process. 

The Shropshire Collaborative Law Group held a launch party on Thursday 24th November at Lanyon Bowdler’s Shrewsbury offices.   In addition to announcing the launch of the group, the purpose of the meeting was to invite a mixed group of professionals from a variety of different agencies, organisations and disciplines who work in the field of family law ranging from professionals working with children to financial advice.

It is important that any party choosing collaborative law as an option for their divorce makes sure their lawyer has had Resolution training in collaborative law.  If you think collaborative law could be the best way to resolve your domestic conflict, or if you would like to find out more about this method of resolving legal disputes, you can contact myself or my fellow collaborative law colleagues Peter Flint and Colin Spanner on 0800 652 3371.