This process is designed to reduce conflict between separating couples, and to provide for more workable and permanent solutions for families and their children.
This is very much a client led process, in which the parties set the pace, timetables and agendas for the meetings.
The parties and their solicitors jointly commit to the process by signing a ‘participation agreement’ during the first meeting which includes an absolute prohibition on Court proceedings being commenced whilst the process is ongoing. This agreement focusses the parties, and their solicitors, on trying to reach an appropriate settlement of the issues within the process rather than through the contentious court route. If the process breaks down, the parties will need to instruct new solicitors from different practices, which could cause delay and extra costs to the parties.
The collaborative solicitors will assist the parties to think creatively and constructively to find fair solutions. The parties agree to be open and honest about their circumstances, and in the case of financial issues, agree to provide full and frank disclosure within the process.
In some cases other professionals, including family consultants, mediators and financial advisors can broaden the advice and guidance which the couple can access during the process.