Creative Divorce practitioners are trained, experienced and committed collaborative family law specialists and other complimentary professionals. Collaborative law as we practise it is about both spouses or partners working together in meetings towards future arrangements, with the benefit of legal support and advice and input from other experts where necessary. Many of our practitioners also offer mediation, arbitration and private judging.
In the collaborative process, each spouse or partner chooses a Creative Divorce lawyer to represent them and protect and further their interests.
The guiding principles of collaborative practice, which are set out in an agreement which each of you and your respective lawyers sign, are to resolve matters with respect, in a constructive forum, and without going to court. All professional advisers commit to working collaboratively in the best interests of the family as a whole.
Working out future arrangements collaboratively involves a series of round table (or “four way”) meetings with both clients and their legal advisers present. Everything is dealt with in these face to face meetings, which offer much greater scope for resolving matters without misunderstanding or conflict. It can also assist with keeping down costs, time demands, and stress.
At the outset, you will discuss your aims and priorities, and together with your lawyers you will work out a timetable for resolving matters. Creative Divorce practitioners tailor the process to your specific needs and concerns, and often these are set out in an agreed statement, which acts as an anchor for everyone over the course of negotiations. Your lawyer will advise you throughout the process, and will do so in a way which references the needs and considerations of the whole family.
A key principle of the collaborative agreement is the agreement not to litigate. If one party decides to go to court (and legally they cannot be restricted from doing so) then the lawyers engaged in the collaborative process cannot then act for either party in court proceedings. This acts as the glue to keep everyone – lawyers, experts and you – committed to the process until you work things out.
Collaborative law is supported by the courts and judiciary, and agreements reached using the process can be ratified by the court. It is not suitable for everyone: both spouses must accept the ethos of collaboration, and the process will not work where there is aggressive behaviour, dishonesty or a desire to “beat” the other person. Where it can work, it most often does.