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January 2014 - How to get your Decree Nicely

The start of the New Year frequently coincides with an increase in new separation enquiries for family lawyers.

Historically the decision to separate often meant immediately hiring a Rottweiler of a lawyer and bracing yourself for an acrimonious, expensive courtroom battle to thrash out arrangements for the children and finances.

Thankfully these days, the situation is made so much better by the fact that most family lawyers practising in England and Wales belong to an organisation called Resolution, which expects its members to abide by a code of practice encouraging cooperation.  

There is also much greater emphasis nowadays on resolving matters relating to children and finances in an amicable and constructive way, preferably outside of the courtroom if possible.  One such increasingly popular method in Basingstoke is the Collaborative process. 

This brings separating couples together in a series of four-way meetings, with their respective solicitors, with the aim of working out the arrangements for the children and finances face-to-face.

The aim is to avoid the courtroom.  Moreover, everyone participating in the Collaborative process signs an agreement actually pledging from the outset that they won’t go to court, and if either of them changes their mind, then they will have to start over with new lawyers.  This can be tremendously liberating because it creates a safer environment to conduct the negotiations and enables the parties to speak freely and openly about their views on settlement without the fear that it might come back to bite them in the court room. 

The presence of their lawyers, who are specially trained, is intended to help facilitate the conversations and keep things on track.  They are also able to act as a sounding board for solutions and a safety net by being able to offer legal advice simultaneously within the negotiations, a great advantage over other forms of dispute resolution.

The upshot of using the Collaborative process is that you and your former partner can still have a civil post-divorce relationship, particularly important where children are involved. For more information and advice contact Rob Parker on 01256 854604 or email