I've been reading this site for 2 months or so now, and occasionally posting where I thought I could help somebody but I've been really surprised to see *no* mention at all of collaborative law - as if it doesn't exist or something.
It is pretty much all over the country by now. Much less harmful emotionally, usually cheaper financially, much better for the children. So why is it never mentioned? I think it's time for a new forum heading just about collaborative work and how it can reduce the pain etc of family breakdown.
I'll write the opening article, which could be "sticky". Webmaster - what say you?
Collaborative Law does get discussed on occassion in the forum. Also many of the solicitors in the services directory are practitioners of Collab Law.
There is a section of Collaborative Law in our original wiki Divorce Guide (from main menu...Resources >> Divorce Guide).
we thought it was a good suggestion to have a forum section on the topic...so we have created one....as well as one on mediation for good measure.
(You cannot say we aren't responsive!!)
We would be very happy if you wish to contribute by writing an introduction posting to the topic. And one we have reviewed and are happy with it we could make it sticky as an intro to that section of the board.
Also we are currently penning part 2 of our new Step By Step Divorce guide...the part about ancillary relief and it will contain a detailed description of the whole process. As the process is quite different for Collab Law (not driven by court dates) then again we would be happy to accept any contribution that you may wish to make to this section of our New Guide (to see part 1 and get an idea of the writing style go to Resources >> Step By Step Divorce Guide)
glad to see your posting! My soon to be ex and i have been using the collaborative law process hoping to obtain a legal separation in which assets and finances are split fairly at this point, but not applying for a divorce just yet (I have no objection to a divorce - we have been leading separate lives under the same roof for about six years now, but i have only recently vacated the marital home as we both decided it was in the best interests of 'baby' if we waited until she had left for Uni. Although we have slept in separtate bedrooms for almost 2 years and socialised in different circles, in legal terms we have only been separated for several months as i continued to cook family meals until i left!)
Therein lies my problem! My husband and I have maintained a good level of communication and by the time we approached our solicitors, we had pretty much sorted out the practical and financial issues that are normally decided through the courts. This included a 50/50 split of the house, and perhaps more importantly at this stage in our lives a 50/50 split of both our pensions (I stayed at home whilst the children were small and although I have now:S returned to teaching, my pension is considerably smaller.)
At the collaborative meetings several weeks ago both my husband and i, and our respective solicitors, drew up the Heads of Agreement which included a pension sharing order. Yesterday however i received a letter from my solicitor which stated that she has 'researched this further', and it appears that a pension sharing order can only be done in connection with divorce proceedings at the Decree Nisi hearing.
Has anyone else got any experience of a similar situation? Whilst my husband and i are very aware of an 'irretrievable breakdown' in our relationship, neither particularly wanted to apply for a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour - this seems to go against the grain of collaborative law which is based on the premise of avoiding blame of either party.
I meet with my solicitor again in several days time but would really appreciate hearing what others think of this situation,
I understand the problem totally. Neither of you wants to engage in mudslinging, you've come so far and don't want to sour things now.
But the solicitor is right, there does have to be a divorce at some time. You could of course both enter into a Deed of Agreement as an end-point of the collaborative work, which says that you will seek a divorce in due course based upon 2 years' separation, and will "invite a Court to make an ancillary relief Order in the terms following". And then set out an intention to go for a pension sharing order.
It's not legally enforceable until there is an ancillary relief order, and Decree Absolute. The Court doesn't acquire power to make the Order until Decree Nisi at least. So there will have to be a divorce i.d.c.
But if you had any kind of a normal marriage there will have been times when one of you shouted at the other, sulked, got the hump, whatever. It's only down to a bit of "selective editing" or "creative writing" to turn that into "unreasonable" behaviour. If done by agreement, I can't see a real problem.
The District Judge reviewing the Petition will know it's been prepared as part of the collaborative process and will say "ok, I understand what is happening" and nod it through, I think you'll find. They are *very* supportive of collaborative family law.
I know it sounds cynical, but if you have agreed to a tidy end to the marriage and come this far, it's only a bit of pragmatism: "Ok, you allege this and this, I'll say it's all out of context but I won't defend, and we'll get our divorce".
So it shouldn't be an obstacle. The solicitors will help you draft something - it's what they're there for.
Thanks for your help in clarifying a few points - we now have a few more decisions to make, but at least the communication is still open and I know that our respective solicitors will make this next transition as smooth as they can.
By the way, I totally agree with you that there is relatively little information available about the collaborative law process. I discovered it quite by chance when i was googling for information on divorce and choice of solicitors, and although i didn't know of anyone who had used it before, i was very aware of the problems that the traditional divorce route can create.
Separating is never easy and although our marriage is over, we both were keen to retain an amicable relationship. My solicitor has been fantastic and although she discussed all available options with me, she always respected my decisions. I know that it may not suit everyone, butI feel that both my husband and I have been able to keep control over the separation, and i would definitely recommend collaborative law to others who find themselves at the end of a relationship, but who don't necessarily want to sever all ties.
Thanks again Will, as you've probably guessed, i like to take time to consider my options before making major decisions
You've been a great help in explaining the situation, and i think you have a lot to offer folks on this site,