What is the Collaborative Process?
Each party instructs their collaboratively trained lawyers individually.
You and your lawyer will discuss what you both need in order to prepare for the first joint “four way meeting”.
Depending on the issues and the information gathered at the initial meeting and lawyer/lawyer discussion.
There should be some discussion between lawyers as to whether other professionals are required to assist. These can include an IFA or Tax or Pension expert, or a child therapist or family consultant if at this point this is considered. The two lawyers together with the other professionals form your collaborative team. The team will communicate with one another to plan how their services will be best utilised.
The two lawyers will have initial discussions with each other either over the phone or face to face in order to plan for the meetings.
At the first four way meeting.
The lawyers will make sure you both understand that you are making a “binding” commitment to work out an agreement without going to court and that by entering into this process it prevents either lawyer from representing either party in court process.
Essentially if the process breaks down, both parties will have to instruct new lawyers.
Both you and your former partner will sign a “Participation Agreement” and often both parties will be asked to provide “anchor statements” which is the parties promise on how they will conduct themselves in the meetings and how they would like the outcome to be reached.
Discussion will then move to the topics and issues that need to be decided and from that an agenda for the next meeting will be agreed. Usually this will be the end of the initial meeting. Often only a few topic areas will be on the agenda in any one meeting and meetings will not go on beyond 2 hours generally as it can be tiring emotionally for both parties.
Subsequent meetings take place.
An agreement is reached on those issues and recorded in minutes which are typed up and distributed to all parties and the team within 48 hours of the meeting. Any corrections are made and the minutes finalised with agreements recorded clearly.
During meetings, lawyers can often give legal advice in front of everyone or explain how the law works, or case law decisions which can help break any impasse. If both lawyers broadly agree with the other’s synopsis it can aid resolution and bring agreement quickly.
These meetings will continue until all matters are resolved.
The final meeting.
In this meeting documents detailing the agreements reached will be signed and the lawyers will guide both parties through anything else that needs to be done in order to promote smooth implementation. A timetable of implementation is often drafted as a guide for the parties and the lawyers will explain how to put the arrangements into a legally binding agreement.
If you would like to know more about this process or feel this could be something you and your partner would benefit from, please contact Matt Clemence at [email protected] or telephone Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584, where Matt will be happy to speak with you.What is Collaborative Law? Mediation Divorce