Collaborative Law and Mediation

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a process where the two parties to a relationship, with the assistance of their lawyers, seek to find solutions to the issues relating to their relationship breakdown in a non-adversarial context.

How does it work?

Following initial consultations with your own lawyer negotiations take place in four way meetings, face to face with you, your spouse/partner and both lawyers, all working together. The lawyers provide legal advice and guidance throughout the process but all decisions are made by you and your spouse/partner.

All parties work in a non-confrontational way to assist in reaching a solution. In addition a family consultant may be arranged to support you and your spouse/partner throughout this process.

All parties sign an agreement which highlights the absolute commitment of you, your spouse/partner and the lawyers to the process. The process is based on full disclosure of all relevant information by you and your spouse/partner. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached through the collaborative process your lawyers are disqualified from representing either of you in contested Court proceedings.

Why choose Collaborative Law?

  • Allows you to make key decisions about the future of you and your family without having to go to court.
  • Structured to meet your needs.
  • Promotes the best interests of children.
  • You, your spouse / partner and your lawyers work together towards resolving all issues and meeting all needs.
  • Explores as many options for settlement as possible.
  • Lawyers and clients cooperate and agree to stay out of court.
  • Negotiate in a principled, dignified and respectful manner.
  • An open, transparant, informed and frank process with full disclosure of all important information.

Mediation

Mediation is a very useful mechanism for resolving Family Law disputes.

How does mediation work in a Family Law dispute?

  • It is necessary for both parties to contact the mediator separately and to indicate that they are interested in pursuing mediation as a means of resolving the matters at issue.
  • The matters that the mediator will usually focus on will be the arrangements in relation to the children including access, maintenance and parenting roles, division of assets including the family home and any investment assets that may exist, financial support (commonly known as maintenance), taxation status i.e. whether they should be separately taxed and pension issues.
  • After obtaining some initial information we would usually meet with the couple and with view to teasing out the initial issues.
  • It is very important to note that it is the parties' process and agreement can only be reached if they can be prepared to compromise.
  • The mediation usually takes place over a series of sessions lasting approximately one and a half hours each.
  • If the mediation process is successful then we as mediator will prepare a document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. This memorandum is not binding on either party until it is converted into a legally binding Separation Agreement or a Court Order. Everything that happens during the mediation process is entirely confidential and cannot be used in later court proceedings.
  • The Mediator's role is to assist the parties to find solutions that will allow them to move on with their lives.

What are the other benefits of Mediation?

  • Mediation is usually much quicker than a Court process and infinitely less costly.
  • It involves both parties meeting with a skilled mediator over a period of four to six meetings. The mediator then enables the couple to identify and seek solutions to the issues arising from their separation. This is particularly good for issues around parenting and children.

Our charges are available on application together with a listing of all necessary outlays.