Collaborative Law for Family and Divorce

One of many dispute resolution options 4PB offers, collaborative law involves the users agreeing not to use the courts to resolve their dispute. Most parties who enter the collaborative law process reach agreement and never litigate.  Settlements reached through conciliation may become binding legal consent orders, without expensive court proceedings.

Collaborative law, as a process, is a different and new way of managing family and divorce disputes in the UK. It involves each person appointing their own family lawyers but rather than resorting straight to litigation, the parties agree that all sides will not use the courts to resolve their dispute.

This agreement is underpinned by the understanding that in the event the parties cannot agree and the process has to be abandoned, the parties must each instruct new solicitors to represent them in court.

Apart from providing the couple with a forum in which they can resolve their own family disputes, the collaborative law process has two other advantages over litigation.

Firstly, no issue that matters to any party is considered irrelevant, so allowing the parties to discuss their family issues in full so that matters which would not feature in a court hearing can be addressed.

If an expert professional view is required to lend their expertise to help resolve the dispute, such an expert (usually one familiar with collaborative law) can be jointly instructed to assist. This allows the involvement of other professionals from IFAs to divorce coaches, consultants, therapists or barristers.

Secondly, unlike court hearing dates which are fixed to accommodate the availability of court time and judges, the collaborative law process allows the parties to set the pace for the meetings which meets their joint needs.
Collaborative law is no less rigorous than family law court proceedings and parties are obligated to make full and frank disclosure of all relevant material and are expected to discuss and negotiate matters only on an informed basis.

The evidence shows that most parties who enter the collaborative law process reach agreement and never litigate. The only time a court is involved in the collaborative law process is when the parties finally agree. At that stage, court proceedings are initiated with the single purpose of reducing the agreement to a consent order.

Here at 4 Paper Buildings, there are currently 24 trained collaborative family law counsel including 3 QCs. 4 Paper Buildings also offers a range of Dispute Resolution Services including Early Neutral Evaluation and Mediation and Arbitration.