Collaborative Approach

Do you think you could resolve issues with your ex-partner without the intervention of the courts?

Do you want to feel in control of the important decisions made about you and your family’s future?

Would you like your children to grow up with parents who are civil to each other and who they know always put their needs first?

If you answer “YES” to any of these then you should consider using the collaborative approach to resolve matters between you and your ex-partner. Each of you will appoint your own solicitor to represent and advise you, then all discussions (and decisions) take place at round table meetings.

The ultimate aim of collaborative law is to resolve family disputes without going to court, giving you and your ex-partner control over what is discussed and how quickly things move.

  • You and your ex-partner will liaise before each 'four way' meeting to ensure there is an agenda in place and no nasty surprises.
  • At the first ‘four way’ meeting the solicitors and both of you sign an agreement to make sure that you are all committed to working out an agreement without going to court
  • Each four way meeting is tailored to you and your ex-partner – to ensure that any urgent concerns are dealt with and thereafter all other priorities and issues are discussed.
  • At the final four way meeting a document detailing the agreements you have reached will be signed and your lawyers will talk you through anything else that needs to be done in order to implement those agreements.

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FAQs

No. Your legal name remains unaffected by the divorce proceedings, but if you want to simply revert to your maiden name this is possible using your birth certificate and the Decree Absolute (final divorce order). If you want to change to any other name, or revert to your maiden name without any divorce, you need a formal Change of Name Deed which we can draw up for you.

Yes, a specialist family solicitor can provide you with advice and help with negotiations. You would usually be encouraged to consider trying to use Mediation or the Collaborative Process too. If you cannot agree the terms amicably – even with the assistance of a third party, then you are going to have to consider involving the court. This would mean one of you applying for a Divorce or Judicial Separation.

This will depend on its value, what other assets there are, and how long the marriage lasted. Pension values always have to be disclosed, but if you are both young, there are no children and the marriage was very short, you are likely to retain your entire pension fund. However, the court has the power to make a Pension Sharing Order if it seems fair and reasonable in all the circumstances– this means a percentage of your pension fund is transferred into your spouse’s name at the time of the divorce.

Ideally, you want to use a solicitor (and they may suggest a mediator can help) to try and resolve the difficulties amicably. However, if negotiating proves impossible for some reason, you will need to make an application to the court for a Child Arrangements Order, and our specialist family team can help you do this.

If your former spouse has Parental Responsibility (PR) for the children (see questions above) then they have a general right to know how the children are. Even if they do not have PR they could probably apply to the court to seek an order for this, and in any event will no doubt feel they have the right to be concerned about the children. Whilst it would be very difficult for your former spouse to stop your children meeting your new partner, you may want to think about trying to agree how and when it happens with your former spouse – or at least keep them updated about it. Otherwise, you may have exactly the same problem, but in reverse, if your former spouse wants to introduce the children to any new partner they have in the future.

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