Collaborative law takes a new approach to resolving family disputes.
It is designed to deliver a “good divorce”, which means a dignified process leading to an outcome you both agree with. It was designed to prevent the damage that can be caused by traditional litigation.
Almost all the work is carried out in meetings with you, your lawyer, your partner and their lawyer. You are fully supported and guided throughout the process as your lawyer is with you. All four participants sign an agreement promising to resolve matters in an open, honest and constructive manner, without issuing court proceedings. This is designed to keep everyone at the negotiating table. The lawyers take a proactive role in suggesting solutions which might benefit you both.
The system focuses on reaching a settlement that meets your standards, i.e. one that is satisfactory to you rather than imposed on you by the courts or anyone else. We focus on exploring your specific circumstances, priorities and goals, to provide a tailor made solution which you feel comfortable with.
We also work with other experts, if necessary. For example we often involve financial professionals such as accountants, financial advisors or surveyors. This can save time and money because it avoids the duplication when you each take separate advice. Also we can agree the terms on which advice is given to ensure it is specifically tailored for your needs.
Collaborative law requires a good degree of trust and openness on both sides; it is not for everyone. If the collaborative process fails, you both need to instruct new lawyers and use the traditional process. This provides an incentive to make the collaborative process work. If you and your partner are determined to resolve matters with dignity, collaborative law could be suitable for you.
bbl family law has been at the forefront of developing collaborative practice in Norfolk. Peter Baughan was one of the first lawyers in the country to train and qualify as a collaborative lawyer. He was a co founder of the Norfolk Collaborative Family Lawyers Group which has grown to 30 members. The group is now known as The Good Divorce Group and has a useful website with details of other local collaborative lawyers. We offer collaborative law alongside mediation, another form of dispute resolution.
All the partners at bbl family law are trained collaborative lawyers and are happy to have a free chat with you about the process to see if it could help you.
More details can be found here.