One of the elements to really control from the get-go is the mechanism for how you choose to divorce and choosing good people to help you manage the divorce. This is especially important when children are involved. Choosing a divorce lawyer is one of the most important aspects of getting a divorce. Your divorce lawyer is not simply required to reach a financial settlement but to do so in relation to emotionally sensitive issues.
The importance of working with a divorce lawyer you can feel confident in cannot be over emphasised.
They must also be supportive in the advice they give. This relationship is extremely important as the work involves sharing personal information so your divorce lawyer needs to be someone you like; trust and can develop a good rapport with.
There are a number of different methods which may be employed to resolve a divorce and the associated issues concerning for example, money or children. These can include for example the traditional litigious route, mediation or the collaborative process.
Collaborative divorce or civil partnership dissolution has established a method for all parties involved in divorce or dissolution to work together so as to avoid confrontation and dispute; mutually agreeing all terms for the settlement of a divorce without the need for court appearances.
At the outset of the divorce the respective collaborative lawyers and their clients will meet to sign a Participation Agreement. This is a formal contract recognising that all parties to the divorce are committed to working together to settle matters as amicably as possible. This will be achieved through face-to-face meetings, involving both the lawyers and their clients, for the discussion of objectives, and by the promise of full and frank disclosure of all relevant information.
Letter writing and telephone meetings between lawyers are therefore negated as all issues are dealt with openly at the meetings. Subsequent meetings in the collaborative process will deal with the parties' particular priorities and concerns.
Often it can be of enormous assistance to look at involving other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning or people trained to assist children in understanding and coping with the changes that your divorce or separation will bring to their lives.
The meetings will enable parties to reach agreement on how the finances will be shared or what arrangements need to be made for any children. Such meetings are conducted in a manner as to try and minimize confrontation and acrimony and to take the heat out of what can be extremely emotive issues.
In the final meeting documents detailing the agreements reached will be signed and the parties’ lawyers will discuss anything else that needs to be done in order to implement those agreements. One of the benefits of the collaborative process is that it’s not driven by a timetable imposed by the court. It can take place at the parties own pace and to large extent the process can be built around the family’s individual timetable and priorities.
Written by Naim Qureshi, Naim is collaboratively trained and specialises in this area of divorce and family work.