The financial arrangements to be made on divorce are generally a pressing matter that requires timely and sensitive resolution. The collaborative process with Creative Divorce practitioners ensures that each spouse or partner has a lawyer who represents their own specific interests while committing to work co-operatively with the other spouse and his or her lawyer to find a solution that meets the needs of all family members as closely as possible.
In order to negotiate a fair settlement collaboratively, your Creative Divorce lawyer will ensure that financial disclosure takes place – this means, you will each have to provide a full, true statement of your financial affairs. Early in the process you, your spouse and each of your lawyers will agree a timetable and the format for providing financial disclosure to each other. You may also discuss the involvement of financial experts at this stage to advise on the valuation of assets, or assist with the collection of information.
In the collaborative process, once everyone understands the full financial picture your lawyers will structure the necessary discussions in a series of meetings to reach a settlement. These discussions will be guided by your concerns and priorities, and may include (if agreed) the input of financial specialists to calculate potential outcomes, discuss property options, and look at alternatives from a tax or pension-specific perspective.
The discussions which take place in the meetings are privileged and confidential. This means that if the collaborative process breaks down, neither of you is allowed to refer to previous discussions in later court proceedings. This encourages everyone to talk freely and suggest proposals, or disclose motivations, they might otherwise not put forward.
When you reach agreement, the lawyers will record that in a document known as a consent order, which will be sent to the family court for approval and is usually approved quickly. Once you have a court order, then all that remains is to put it into effect. As ever, your Creative Divorce practitioners will ensure that this takes place smoothly and in a dignified manner.
It is also possible to use mediation to resolve financial disputes, and you can click here to find out more about mediation. Arbitration is another dispute resolution process that enables you to get a final, private decision in financial matters from an impartial, expert third party without using the courts. For more details about arbitration, please click here.