The process is based upon each party having their own collaborative family lawyer. Progress is made in a series of four-way meetings, face to face, sat round the table. There are no letters or phone calls except to arrange the meetings and to circulate the minutes of those meetings. Both parties and their Collaborative lawyers as well as making a commitment not to go to court, agree to a set of basic ground rules. Negotiations are based upon full financial disclosure, and when needed, other jointly instructed neutral professionals (such as accountants) can be brought in to assist in the process.
Solutions are based upon the parties’ interests and needs rather than conflicting positions. Sometimes only a couple of meetings are needed, sometimes four or five. These meetings can be close together or widely spaced depending upon your individual circumstances. The choice is yours. Once agreement is reached, your Collaborative lawyer will make it binding for you and put the agreement into effect. For couples and families who genuinely seek a fair solution and want to minimise the pain of family breakdown, Collaborative Family Law may offer the best approach.