In September I completed training in collaborative practice. Six solicitors in Tees Valley, along with many others across the North East region and the country nationally, are now offering a new way to divorce. It’s a revolutionary approach which helps reduce the emotional cost on couples and their children when families split. Instead of dealing through solicitors, the new approach, called collaborative law, involves couples working with their solicitors, all together in the same room, to reach agreement without the need for costly and stressful court battles.
In 2007, 128,000 marriages in the United Kingdom ended in divorce. Sadly, family breakdown is a fact of life. Unfortunately, the consequences are often devastating for spouses and their children and can lead to personal trauma and turmoil. Members of Resolution, a 5700-strong group of family lawyers, commit to minimising the financial and emotional pain it causes. We do this by adopting a conciliatory approach which puts the needs of any children involved first. Collaborative law is a natural extension of this idea. By all sitting together, we ensure that couples stay in control of their own futures, instead of leaving decisions to a judge in a courtroom. The focus is on solutions rather than confrontation. Where it has been practised elsewhere in the UK, it has achieved remarkable results. I’m confident that it’s going to do the same in the Tees Valley area too
Both parties and their lawyers pledge to work together to negotiate an agreement without going to court. If an agreement cannot be reached, and court is seen as the only solution, the lawyers involved cannot act for either party in the subsequent court case. This means that everyone involved (including the lawyers!) has an incentive to settle the case.