7th March 2019

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

The plight of Mrs Owens being forced to remain in a loveless marriage has garnered much media attention and strengthened the “no fault” divorce movement, but, pending a change in the law, can such a destructive impasse be avoided? YES, by choosing collaborative law.

Unsurprisingly, it is not uncommon for one spouse to want a divorce, whilst the other wants to remain married. However, to force one person to remain married to the other is hardly going to improve the relationship!

In these situations, it is important to recognise that the reluctant partner needs to “catch up” before being forced to make the life changing decisions that divorce brings.

The right lawyer, with the right approach can make a huge difference to the outcome and whilst it can be very tempting to choose the lawyer with a reputation for “fighting tooth and nail”, when the dust settles, what have they actually achieved and at what cost?

So, how is a collaborative divorce different?

We do not ask the Court to make decisions, instead, supported by their own collaboratively trained lawyers, a couple meets to discuss every possible issue arising from the breakdown of the relationship. Through those discussions, constructive progress is made and agreements reached which are tailored to the couple’s specific circumstances.

Many people might assume therefore that a collaborative divorce can only work if the couple is amicable, but not so. This is what one of our collaborative clients says:

“I remain convinced that every couple should, where possible, at least try the collaborative approach to divorce, as in spite of everything, the warring exes are still talking, neither of us is bankrupt, far from it and we have not spent a fortune on solicitors’ fees! Compared to the heartache and years of torment friends of ours went through, it has been a breeze.”

Obviously, there will also be cases where the court process is not only inevitable, it is necessary, but those cases are rarer than many people believe, and it is still important to choose A lawyer who doesn’t just fight, but who can justify how that fight will be in your best interests.

So, while Mrs Owens waits for divorce law to be brought into the 21st century, remember that you can choose your own 21st century option – a collaborative divorce.

If you would like further advice on divorce we offer a free 30-minute meeting. Please contact our team secretary Khaila Reid on T: 01892 502 335 or E: kreid@bussmurton.co.uk and quote ‘Wealden Times’.

This article was first published in the September issue of the Wealden Times. www.wealdentimes.co.uk