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Collaborative law: the better way of divorcing

Collaborative law is a relatively new way of dealing with the breakdown of family relationships. It enables separating couples to opt out of the court process and instead resolve their differences in roundtable meetings with their (ex) partner and respective lawyers. Joanne Houston, of Just Family Law in Hampshire, has been trained as a collaborative lawyer for 5 years and recommends the process. "It is the best route for separating and divorcing clients seeking to achieve a dignified, non-aggressive solution, avoid acrimonious court proceedings, retain control of decisions affecting the family and retain positive family relationships."

Collaborative law is a relatively new way of dealing with the breakdown of family relationships. It enables separating couples to opt out of the court process and instead resolve their differences in roundtable meetings with their (ex) partner and respective lawyers. Joanne Houston, of Just Family Law in Hampshire, has been trained as a collaborative lawyer for 5 years and recommends the process. "It is the best route for separating and divorcing clients seeking to achieve a dignified, non-aggressive solution, avoid acrimonious court proceedings, retain control of decisions affecting the family and retain positive family relationships."

Often the most complex and time-consuming aspect of separation or divorce is the negotiated financial settlement. The traditional approach to family breakdown involves one-party taking sides against the other with their respective lawyers adopting deeply entrenched positions. Cases like this often turn into long drawn out and expensive court battles. There are no winners in these cases and often the process is very destructive to the parties and their extended family.

This is avoided in the collaborative process. Both parties commit to resolving their differences in an open environment. A series of four way meetings are set up by their lawyers and these meetings provide a forum for open communication and information sharing. The parties agree on the meeting agendas and are fully supported by their lawyers throughout the meetings. A collaborative participation agreement is drawn up setting out the ground rules and confirming the commitment to resolving disputes without resort to the court. Throughout the series of meetings all issues of importance are discussed and resolved using non-position based negotiation.

The collaborative process eases the pain of divorce by removing the threat of court proceedings and ensures that the parties focus on what is it the best interests of the family as a whole. It is geared towards helping the parties move forward.

Collaborative practice can also be supported by other professionals required to help reach an agreement such as life coaches and financial specialists.

Getting divorced is never easy but using the collaborative approach makes it a far more positive experience.

For more info information about collaborative law please visit the website www.collaborativefamilylawyers.co.uk or contact Joanne Houston at www.just-family-law.com.

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