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Using Collaborative Family Law in Your Divorce

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Collaborative Family Law Divorce Lawyer

Collaborative family law is a concept that has been used in divorce cases in the United States for quite some time but is still relatively new to the UK.

What Does Collaborative Family Law Aim to Achieve?

The aim is of collaborative family law is to resolve the divorce process without any form of court involvement and to do so in a dignified manner on both sides. In the collaborative process the lawyers on both sides along with their clients aim to find the best solutions to issues surrounding the children and financial settlements and related issues.

Collaborative Family Law is a Non-Confrontational Approach

When a couple divorce, there can be a lot of emotional and financial fallout as a result. In a collaborative process, the aim is to minimise both the financial cost of the divorce and to lessen or even eliminate the emotional trauma which couples often find they go through during the separation procedure. The couple are always in control but they each have their own lawyer to offer them support and guidance along the way.

The collavorative family law process works well where couples don’t wish to take a confrontational approach and just wish to have everything settled and their divorce finalised as quickly and as amicably as possible so there has to be goodwill on both sides. It basically consists of a series of 4 way meetings – the couple themselves and a lawyer appointed by each of them. Its success lies in open and honest dialogue where information can be shared and negotiations entered into and both parties will be encouraged to find their own joint solutions. Once this is achieved, the lawyers then draw up a settlement agreement which is approved by the court.

Benefits of a Collaborative Approach

The main benefit of a collaborative family law approach is the control which you retain throughout the divorce process backed up by legal advice and support. It helps to avoid stressful confrontation and usually results in a quicker, less drawn out, dissolution to your marriage.

It also keeps legal costs to a minimum as there is less paperwork involved and because it is non-confrontational, it also helps to lessen the risk of you losing contact with friends and family members who often tend to feel as though they have to take sides in a conventional courtroom divorce ‘battle’.

It’s far better to let the two people involved try to work towards some kind of amicable agreement with the help of lawyers than to put it in the hands of a judge who hardly knows you to decide your fate.

Ultimately, a divorce can often cause a lot of heartache and antagonism. The ethos of a collaborative family law approach is to keep things dignified and non-confrontational which usually produces the quickest and most satisfactory outcome all round.Especially, where children are involved, it also keeps them at the forefront of both your thoughts and makes things easier for them to deal with.

Parents who are going through a divorce are usually so wrapped up in their own emotions that they can sometimes tend to forget about the effect it is having on their children. Often, following their parents’ divorce, children will comment that it wasn’t the actual divorce itself that caused them to feel distraught but the way in which the divorce was carried out. This is another very good reason why the collaborative family law process is a worthwhile alternative approach to the divorce procedure.

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Tanya - Your Question:
I have been advised that in a divorce settlement I would be entitled to 50/50 of all finances etc, does this mean that all pensions have to be cashed in or is it possible to opt for a weekly pension when the time comes.

Our Response:
You can see more via the Money Advice link here , which should help answer your question.
DivorceResource - 20-Apr-18 @ 9:44 AM
I have been advised that in a divorce settlement I would be entitled to 50/50 of all finances etc, does this mean that all pensions have to be cashed in or is it possible to opt for a weekly pension when the time comes.
Tanya - 19-Apr-18 @ 1:47 PM
Tanya - Your Question:
My husband & I bought the marital home together in 2006, to which we equally contributed. He moved out in 2017 and I am in the process of getting a new mortgage in my name only. He has agreed on the proviso that when I sell the house, he will receive his half claim of the equity, which is c£40k. I will look at selling when our daughter moves out permanently, she is currently 13 years old. We have amicably split and share parenting equally, though she lives with me. I am beginning to look at petitioning him for a divorce. Should I discuss this with a solicitor as I want to ensure what I am doing is legal/allowed and once I have the new mortgage, do I need to remove my husband from the title deeds of the house? We have no other financial assets to split.thank you.

Our Response:
Once you apply for a new mortgage, then you will apply in your name only. It will have nothing to do with your ex. You can see more via changing the name on the deeds via the link here.
DivorceResource - 8-Mar-18 @ 12:10 PM
My husband & I bought the marital home together in 2006, to which we equally contributed. He moved out in 2017 and I am in the process of getting a new mortgage in my name only. He has agreed on the proviso that when i sell the house, he will receive his half claim of the equity, which is c£40k. I will look at selling when our daughter moves out permanently, she is currently 13 years old. We have amicably split and share parenting equally, though she lives with me. I am beginning to look at petitioning him for a divorce. Should i discuss this with a solicitor as i want to ensure what i am doing is legal/allowed and once i have the new mortgage, do i need to remove my husband from the title deeds of the house? We have no other financial assets to split. thank you.
Tanya - 7-Mar-18 @ 10:50 AM
Happy - Your Question:
Me and brother purchased a house before I got married in 1985. I got married in 1989 and lived in this house for approximately 4 years. Moved to Leicester in 1999 and since then I haven't paid a single penny towards the mortgag. If me and my wife get divorced is she entitled for anything from this property.

Our Response:
You don't say who is living in the house now or what the situation currently is. If your brother has paid the mortgage to date, he will be allowed the bigger share of the equity. If you haven't divorced, then your wife may be entitled to claim from your share of the equity if you divorce. Professional legal advice would be needed here.
DivorceResource - 14-Jul-17 @ 1:47 PM
Me and brother purchased a house before I got married in 1985. I got married in 1989 and lived in this house for approximately 4 years. Moved to Leicester in 1999 and since then I haven't paid a single penny towards the mortgag. If me and my wife get divorced is she entitled for anything from this property.
Happy - 13-Jul-17 @ 9:34 PM
wife - Your Question:
I owned a property before we were married.2 years ago my husband and I separated and he moved in there. I am in the family house owned by both of us!We are now divorcing haven't petitioned yetCan I sell my house which is in my name only and he has never contributed to it without his permission and does he have any right to the equity?

Our Response:
You would need to seek legal advice regarding this, as while your house may be viewed as a pre-marital asset, much depends upon the length of your marraige, the financial amount he has invested into the house and whether he contests your request to sell.
DivorceResource - 26-Sep-16 @ 2:30 PM
I owned a property before we were married. 2 years ago my husband and i separated and he moved in there. i am in the family house owned by both of us! We are now divorcing haven't petitioned yet Can i sell my house which is in my name only and he has never contributed to it without his permission and does he have any right to the equity?
wife - 23-Sep-16 @ 7:25 PM
@Rich - you would have to take legal advice on this as it would depend on when the gift was made, how long you have been married and whether you have any children. All of these issues will be weighed up through the courts when splitting your estate.
DivorceResource - 20-Feb-15 @ 2:42 PM
My father gave a financial gift to me. This then enabled the purchase of a residential property. My wife and I are now divorcing. Is my financial gift safe or can my wife take a portion of it during the settlement?
Rich - 19-Feb-15 @ 8:57 PM
@richard - I'm afraid we can not advice you on such complex financial matters -you would need to see a solicitor.
DivorceResource - 12-Feb-15 @ 11:20 AM
I married 7 years ago. I am 76 years old. My wife is 65 years old. I bought the house before she moved in. It has a worth of £375k. She inherited 100,000 euros which has 'disappeared' - i suspect to her children. She has savings of c. £50,000. I had an inheritance from my mother of c. £100,000 and gave £30,000 to my children. I have £70,000 invested from that source. I also have invested savings of c.22,000 to ward of inflation of fixed pensions. I have pensions bringing in currently c. £30,000 pa. My wife has the base state pension c. 7500 pa and a part time job earning around £600 per month (non declared cash in hand). My wife tried to get me to put the house deeds in a tenancy in common 50/50 but I pulled out before it was finalised. This caused the rift. My wife has gone to live with her daughter who has a large house with spare room for occupancy. (Possibly financed from my wife's land inheritance but that is here-say subject to investigation.) We keep separate accounts as my wife has refused to share any finances excepting a joint bank account into which I put £300 pm and she £200 pcm. I have to top this up as needed. She does pay for some Xmas and birthday gifts and occasionally some food - when the joint account runs short. All other household bills are in my sole name and I pay them. I bought my wife an £8000 car from my mother's inheritance since she did help my mother a little with food supply. I think those are the main issues. Q1 What would be a fair division of assets in the case of divorce? Q2 Is divorce inevitable or can i refuse to take part? Thank you for your valuable time in providing guidance. What is the likely outcome or what should I propose as a fair settlement?
richard - 11-Feb-15 @ 2:53 PM
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