Dispute resolution (DR) has fundamentally changed the way people think about the legal process following relationship breakdown. DR can replace the expensive, often hostile court proceedings with open, honest discussion, negotiation and agreement.
At Gaby Hardwicke we offer a type of DR called collaborative law.
Traditionally, when a couple separates each party takes independent advice from their own specialist family lawyers. The lawyers then try to reach an agreement on how best to settle issues such as the division of assets and responsibilities for children. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the arrangements are left to the family courts to decide.
With collaborative law you and your spouse (accompanied by your own solicitors) sit down and work together in the same room face to face. The process usually involves a series of four-way (each spouse and his or her solicitor) 90-minute meetings, during which the key issues are discussed and agreement reached.
Of course, collaborative law will not suit every couple. For the process to work a couple needs:
A genuine desire to make it work.
A willingness to disclose, fully and honestly, information about all assets.
Skilled solicitors who are practiced in working in this new collaborative way.
An agreement that they will reach a solution without going to court.
In cases where the collaborative approach is a viable option, the benefits include:
You will have your own independent legal advisor but at the same time remain in control of the process without the threat of court proceedings.
You and your partner set the agenda and pace.
You are not governed by court dates and appearances.
The process takes place within a timeframe of your choosing.