The specialist family lawyers group Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) has set up a group of collaborative family lawyers who are trained and skilled in the joint approach to resolving family disputes. The purpose is for both parties to seek agreement without having to go through the courts. The separated couple sit down with each other and their own collaboratively trained lawyers and work out how to share the family assets and the responsibilities, for the children, for example, face to face.
It may take one meeting or it may take several. It requires a commitment to negotiate an agreement without going to court. The couple still benefit from having their own legal advisor, but set their own pace and agenda, with the assistance of their lawyers. The agreement in ancillary relief can be embodied in a Consent Order, subject to the approval of the court.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the lawyers involved cannot then act for either party in the subsequent court proceedings. This ? a real incentive for everyone involved to settle.
There is a growing interest in collaborative law throughout the country and more and more lawyers are undertaking training.Barbara Stevens, Collaborative Family Lawyer for more information