for separation and divorce with dignity

How does it work?

However you go about sorting things out after you separate there are some things that need to be done before you can sign a separation agreement

  1. Making arrangements for the children – where they are to live and when they are to see the parent they are not living with.
  2. Making sure you are able to to meet your living expenses while everything else is sorted out and in the longer term;.
  3. Identifying the assets which needs to be divided, and their value;
  4. Exploring the options as to how the assets can be divided .
  5. If agreement is reached on all these issues a binding legal agreement (separation agreement) is signed

How does Collaborative Practice approach these tasks?

Collaborative Practice allows a separating couple to reach this agreement through a calm and respectful discussion which takes place around a table. It removes the need for lengthy correspondence between lawyers or having the matter decided through a court action. There are normally a number of meetings. Each meeting is carefully planned in advance by the lawyers who identify the issues which need to be discussed.

After each meeting, everyone involved receives a summary of the discussions which identifies the next steps which each person has to take before the next meeting. This structure allows key immediate issues of concern such as arrangements for the children and transitional financial arrangements to be put in place quickly. Once matters are agreed, a legal agreement is signed and a divorce arranged if needed.

Who attends the meetings?

The separating couple attend the meetings with their lawyers. The lawyers work with the couple to help them reach agreement.

Other collaborative professionals can be brought in to help as necessary. These include financial specialists and family consultants.

What makes it different from other round table negotiations?

The Collaborative Process is based on a contract which all involved sign. It commits everyone including the professionals to acting with respect and integrity throughout the process. The contract also prevents the couple from instructing

the collaborative lawyers to raise a court action if their negotiation fails. This means that all those participating in the meeting have an interest in reaching a successful conclusion.

The roles

Find out more details on the role of the lawyers, the Financial Specialists and the Family Consultants

Lawyer

The lawyers manage the process. They arrange the collaborative meetings and liaise with any other collaborative professionals whom the couple agree should be involved.

They work as a team with the couple and those professionals to help them reach agreement. They will meet separately with their own clients where necessary to provide individual legal advice and support.

They will:

  • Strive to ensure that the separating couple are able to conduct their discussion in an atmosphere of support and understanding.
  • Endeavour to minimise conflict in the discussions which take place.
  • Ensure that the wellbeing of any children is made a key priority.
  • Conduct all discussions in a non-adversarial manner.
  • Ensure that full regard is given to each person’s concerns and issues.
  • Ensure that assistance is made available to those having emotional difficulty dealing with the process.
  • Ensure that any decision is based on full understanding and consent.
  • Ensure that comprehensive and clear legal information is given to the couple.
  • Direct parties to use the service of other collaborative professionals where these are needed.
  • Finalise the legal aspects of the separation and arrange a divorce if applicable.
Lawyer

Financial Specialist

Our Financial Specialists aim to ensure that a couple separating make informed financial decisions based on sound information. They are qualified Financial Planners or in some cases, Accountants. They help the couple understand the range of options available to them so that they can make the right decisions for the financial wellbeing of themselves and their children.

Financial specialists trained in collaborative practice work can provide invaluable assistance in the information-gathering needed in separation situations. They act in a neutral capacity. They assist the collaborative lawyers and the couple in providing clear information on which the settlement discussions can be based and they help identify the financial matters which need to be decided and what financial options might be available to the couple who are separating.

Financial assets such as pensions and policies can have significant value and there will be different possible ways of dealing with them. How they are dealt with can have significant implications for financial health after separation in the longer term.

Sometimes there are complex assets such as business interests which have to be valued and perhaps divided.

The involvement of a financial specialist allows clear decision-making based on a full understanding of nature of the assets to be split and allows the financial possibilities of a settlement to be maximised.

The involvement of a Financial Specialist:

  • Provides clear and accurate financial information as a starting point to the discussion.
  • Enables informed financial choices to be made.
  • Provides creative financial settlement options.
  • Allows separating couples to understand the possibilities for their future financial health .
Financial Specialist

Family Consultants

Sometimes emotions can make it difficult for couples to engage in the Collaborative process even though they wish to proceed with it. Our Family Consultants are all members of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. They can assist in the collaborative process by providing emotional support to the couple either individually or together so that the process runs smoothly. They can also help the couple agree arrangements for their children.

Support for you

Not everyone needs this but for some people this support is essential to enable them to provide an emotional anchor which enables them to make good clear and informed decisions and to deal with parts of the process which they find challenging. family consultants can help provide the confidence needed to make the collaborative process a success.

Help with your children

Separation brings huge changes in family life especially for children. It is vital that parents in separation are able to be supported in making good decisions in relation to their children which are focused on the children’s best interest and which above all protect them from conflict. It is said that it is not separation that damages children but the

way the process is handled by the adults involved. Collaboratively trained Family Consultants have the knowledge and skills to work with the couple to help them connect fully with their children’s needs in separation and to assist them in agreeing arrangements for their children in an atmosphere of respect and understanding.

Family Consultants