With the New Year comes “Black Monday”, the start of a week during which family lawyers generally experience a two-fold increase in new instructions.
Since April 2011, all couples whose marriages have broken down have had to consider mediation, before contemplating an application to Court. Mediation should ideally not be taken in isolation to obtaining specialist legal advice.
A viable alternative is to adopt a collaborative approach if couples wish to preserve the emotional and financial wellbeing of the family. Adopting the collaborative model, couples agree not to go to Court but, instead, supported by their collaboratively trained family lawyer, agree to enter into all discussions with a view to achieving an overall negotiated settlement. This allows for creative solutions, especially helpful where family businesses and inherited wealth are involved. Discussions concentrate on settling issues without fixing blame. This is then embodied within a Court Order, obtained by consent. Removing the acrimony and recrimination leaves couples free to move on and enables their children to feel free to invite them to their future weddings; christenings and other family celebrations without dreading that their parents may spoil their special occasion.
Having collaboratively trained 9 years ago and undertaken numerous collaborative cases, I can certainly recommend and wholeheartedly support this approach as a constructive and successful way for couples to resolve both financial and child related issues arising from separation or divorce.