“All families matter all the time.”

Collaborative family law is a process.

It allows separating couples to work together alongside their solicitors through a series of meetings to achieve bespoke solutions taking account of their specific requirements and concerns.

This process enables participants to identify and build their own agreements to reach a positive settlement for all concerned. Stress and acrimony are kept to a minimum and the greater expense of Court proceedings is avoided.

Depending on the issues involved, other family professionals, such as therapists, accountants or independent financial advisors (who are usually also collaboratively trained), may also participate to provide specialised advice to inform and support the process.

The clients, their solicitors and family professionals sign a contract (“the participation agreement”) binding them to the process; a key condition being that neither will instigate Court proceedings nor will they be represented by their solicitor in any related Court proceedings.

Collaborative law is not limited to resolving matters arising on divorce.  It can help over a broad range of family/relationship matters assisting separating unmarried couples/cohabitees or those who decide to refrain from divorce, but wish to formalise their separation arrangements as well as children’s matters.  For couples getting married who require either a pre or post nuptial agreement (also known as marital contracts), a combative and or commercial approach is far from ideal.  A collaborative approach offers an appropriate environment for couples to work constructively together.

Other Professionals

Other professionals can make critical contributions to the divorce process.

Most often this concerns financial matters. Some of Bedfordshire Collaborative Law’s  members are from the financial sector. Their input can help couples to understand  the impact of financial settlements and how their future finances may be effected. The advice given can cover matters such as taxation liabilities, pension sharing options, valuation of business interests, trusts, inheritance tax and long-term financial planning.

Considering the structure of  financial settlements and their practical implications helps answer essential questions like “What will my income be in retirement?” or “How much capital would I need to provide a certain level of income?”. Legislation in relation to pensions and taxation changes frequently and up to date advice is very important. Only when all parties are aware of the options and the associated implications can informed decisions be made.

From time to time, the support of a family practitioner can be invaluable in providing emotional support to one or both of the parties to help the passage of the divorce process. This can extend to relationship support  one to one counselling or giving the children to the marriage a voice in what’s agreed.

Additionally the opportunity of bringing independent neutral assessments for particular issues is available, for example property valuations, health assessments or pension review by an actuary can be organized through collaborative work.