Collaborative law

Collaborative law is a fundamentally different approach to resolving family disputes arising from divorce. Issues are discussed around a table, constructively and fairly, with the support of qualified collaborative lawyers. It focuses on what is fair for each member of the family.

Using collaborative law to help you reach the best outcome

Going to court or arguing about money or children when a relationship breaks down is not only unpleasant, it can make a bad situation worse for all involved. It undermines relationships rather than supports them, sometimes irreparably.

The collaborative law approach can help to avoid these issues because it is fundamentally different to any other type of negotiation. It avoids the polarising effect of traditional legal negotiation and court proceedings.

The key elements of the collaborative law process to be aware of are:

  • With the help of your collaborative lawyer, you work out what your objectives are and how to achieve them 
  • There is very little correspondence, and no court documents (apart from those that may be agreed first, such as the actual divorce) 
  • Discussions take place around a table, with both of you and your collaborative lawyers. We help each other to find the best and fairest solution – for you and your family as a whole

Even on divorce, most people want the best for all of their family, and are prepared to support their spouse or partner – particularly where children are involved. If you feel this way, then you should seriously consider collaborative law.

Call us to find out more about whether collaborative law is right for you. We are happy to discuss free of charge.

Our family solicitors and collaborative lawyers

We are experts in collaborative law. We helped to establish it in 2003, and have been actively involved in promoting it ever since. 

Several of our family and divorce solicitors are also fully qualified collaborative lawyers. 

All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution, an organisation that promotes a conciliatory and constructive approach to divorce and separation.

Our experience

Our collaborative law experience is extensive, but here are a couple of examples of our most frequent type of work in this area:

  • We have conducted collaborative law cases involving complex finances, farms and businesses. Such cases are helpfully dealt with in collaborative law, because financial disclosure can be focused and limited to what is relevant.
  • We have acted for the beneficiaries of trusts within collaborative law, where the trustees can be involved. Trustees are able to explain the financial background and the intentions of the settlor. This can be fundamental to achieving a cost effective and constructive outcome for everybody – including the wider family.

Our clients

Our clients come from all walks of life. Sometimes their family arrangements are complex, sometimes they are straightforward. The types of clients we help using the collaborative process include the following examples:

  • Separating or divorcing couples who are happy to work towards a balanced agreement, to sort out issues fairly, to listen actively to their spouse or partner, and to work co-operatively. 
  • Most of our collaborative law clients come from families with children, whose arrangements they wish to get right, alongside their financial arrangements. 
  • The collaborative law approach is ideal for those who are thinking of preparing a pre-nuptial agreement. Those who are getting married naturally prefer a constructive and balanced approach.

If family mediation is a better option for you, or is more financially viable for you, we will advise you of that – and do so candidly and straightforwardly. Collaborative law is not for everybody. Sometimes it can be a more expensive option.

What our clients and others say about us

Our family solicitors are regarded nationally as market leaders. We are highly rated in both Chambers UK and Legal 500 directories, following independent research. Comments about our family lawyers from peers and clients include the following:

  • “[He] achieves outstanding results … clients recall his ‘emotional understanding; he was non-confrontational but had the integrity to know when to stand his ground effectively’.” (Chambers UK) 
  • “… has considerable expertise in methods of ADR [alternative dispute resolution].” (Chambers UK) 
  • “Interviewees say: ‘He is a gifted advocate and a phenomenal collaborative lawyer.’” (Chambers UK) 
  • “… a leading light in Resolution.” (Chambers UK) 
  • “… a trained collaborative lawyer who balances professionalism and client care.” (Chambers UK) 
  • “…attracts praise for her ‘co-operative and collaborative’ approach to family law” (Chambers UK)

Legal resources you may find useful

  • collaborative divorce – free information on divorce and separation on our family law website, including guidance and video content covering collaborative divorce.

Family and matrimonial
Family and matrimonial