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Collaborate to Separate?

25th January 2017

At this time of year many couples are re-evaluating their relationships and making the difficult decision regarding whether to separate.

Some individuals are reticent to take the step due to their perception of what will follow – a bitter court battle or negotiation between lawyers, both having the potential to further polarise the parties. Couples can then find it very difficult to co-parent their children.

There are, however, Alternative Dispute Resolution methods available which can avoid this division. Collaborative Law, for example, sees a case negotiated entirely via meetings with couples and their lawyers present. Everyone works as a team to find the best solution for the parties and any children, rather than each lawyer arguing for their client’s best position in law.

Lawyers require to be specially trained in this process and neither they nor their clients are permitted to threaten court action. At the first meeting clients will each give a mission statement of what they hope to achieve. These will often be similar and this immediately establishes some common ground. If discussions become difficult later the clients can be brought back to their mission statements and this can greatly assist in unblocking impasse. People generally feel much more in control of the process and are accordingly happier with the resulting agreement. Where there are children this then provides a more positive footing to begin the parties’ new working relationship of co-parenting in separate households.  Morisons have Collaboratively Trained Lawyers in each of our offices.

Please contact Morven Douglas for further information.

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