No Court Divorce - Collaborative Family Law

What is Collaborative Law?

This is a new way for divorcing or separating couples to work together as a team with trained professionals, to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to Court.

In the Collaborative Law process, each client has the support, protection and guidance of their own trained Collaborative Lawyer during the meetings.  The lawyers agree that they are there to help the clients through the collaborative process, they are not there to take the case to court and are prevented from doing so by signing a contract called a Participation Agreement.

Collaborative Law Practice involves face-to-face meetings involving both clients and their lawyers. This makes the negotiation very efficient in cutting down delay. There are no secret discussions or tactical manoeuvres.   As the client you are in full control of the financial disclosure process and can set the agenda for the meetings.

Please contact partner Bridget Garrood to discuss the various alternatives to Litigation. Bridget is a trained Collaborative Lawyer and can talk through with you whether this process is likely to be suitable in your case.

Bridget is a member of Devon Collaborative Lawyers.


How does it differ from Family Mediation?

In Mediation the Mediator is neutral and is therefore prevented from giving either of you any legal advice.  A Mediator cannot assist you in putting forward your own position.   A Mediator is there to facilitate and has a duty to advise each of you to take separate legal advice, either during the process or afterwards.

Any settlement discussed during Mediation is only binding once each of you has had the chance to take separate legal advice and has transferred the agreement into a separate document or order of the court.  A Mediator cannot prepare the court documents for you nor finalise the process.

Provided agreement is reached in the Collaborative Law process, your Collaborative Lawyer can act for you in preparing the court papers to formalise your agreement.

Lawyers are rarely present during the Mediation process and their advice may be given too late to assist in the process.

In Collaborative Practice, you each have your own lawyer throughout the process advising you and helping you put forward your own position.  If you or your ex partner lack negotiation skills or financial understanding, or feel vulnerable when in the sole presence of the other party, Collaborative Practice could be preferable to Mediation.

Mediators may still have a role in the Collaborative process in some cases and some Mediators are also trained Collaborative Lawyers.

Cartridges wholeheartedly support the appropriate referral of suitable cases to Family Mediation.  For more information about Family Mediation please see www.compass-resolution.co.uk or www.southwestmediation.co.uk.


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