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Your guide to collaborative law

Ask anyone who has been divorced and they’d almost all agree on one thing – divorce isn’t cheap. Kirsty Gallacher recently told the Sunday Times that her marriage had proved to be the ‘worst investment’ and said that ‘divorce is a nightmare – the legal fees and all the c*** that goes with it’.

If your divorce ends up in court there could be large fees to pay. But there are ways to make the divorce process less expensive.


What is collaborative law?

Traditionally, when a couple get divorced, negotiations are conducted between their respective solicitors over the telephone or via letter. The main difference with collaborative law is that although you and your spouse will still have your own solicitors, the four of you – you, your spouse and your solicitors – will meet face-to-face in order to negotiate your divorce settlement.


Why is collaborative law better?

When you send emails or text messages – or any kind of written correspondence – things can easily be taken the wrong way or misunderstood. This kind of communication between your solicitors can also foster a ‘them and us’ situation which collaborative law seeks to avoid. By having face-to-face discussions with your spouse, with your solicitors present to offer legal advice and make sure you fully understand your rights at all times, you are working together to reach a settlement that you are both happy with.

This direct communication between you and your spouse can also make your relationship much better than it could have been otherwise – a major plus if there are any children involved.


Is it quicker to reach an agreement through collaborative law?

In short – yes, it can be. The delay between the letters alone in the more traditional process can cause unnecessary hold-ups to the divorce process. Also, the ‘openness’ of the collaborative process and the fact that you can meet as often as you need to with your spouse and their solicitor to discuss any issues, can make the process much quicker for some couples.


Does this mean I won’t have to go to court?

Collaborative law is a method of discussions between you and your spouse that could result in an agreement about your divorce settlement. However, collaborative law will not work for everyone and you could still need to go to court.


Is collaborative law expensive? 

There are solicitors involved in your meetings with your spouse so their fees may add up. It is sometimes possible to get a fixed fee agreement with your solicitor. However, collaborative law can be much cheaper than going to court in order to agree your divorce settlement and could offer you and your family considerable benefits for future relationships if you are able to come to an agreement through this method. If you are worried about costs, it’s best to talk through your options with your solicitor.


What about if I don’t want to see my spouse? 

If you don’t want to see your spouse then collaborative law may not be for you. There are other methods that you can use to come to an agreement that don’t involve seeing your spouse such as solicitor-to-solicitor negotiation.

For some couples, collaborative law can be extremely beneficial, not only because of the savings made by not going to court but also by the positive impact it can have on their future relationship, especially important if there are any children involved.


Contact us to see how we can help you

For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001  or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.


30th June 2016

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