One of the things we hear a lot as lawyers when couples are divorcing is that they feel powerless, and not in control of what’s happening to them.
Letting a court decide on your future is essentially handing over control to someone who doesn’t know you or your family. Using collaborative law to work through the issues around your separation gives that control back to you and your ex-wife, husband or partner, with the help, advice and support of lawyers to guide you both through the process.
Setting the timetable
Most importantly, using collaborative law means that you and your partner set the timetable.
Some couples want to get everything resolved as quickly as possible; others find they need time to work things through. Choosing to sort out finances through the courts puts you completely at the mercy of judges’ timescales and availability – the first court hearing in a financial remedies case won’t generally happen for 12-16 weeks, for example. After that, you are allocated time slots, which might mean a full day’s hearing or perhaps just an hour in which crucial decisions about your future will be made.
You might feel that some issues need more time to cover in full, but if you’re only given an hour’s slot in court you may be either left wishing things had been done differently or waiting for the next available slot, prolonging things at what is already a stressful and emotional time.
Using the collaborative process means that you and your ex decide how often you meet with your lawyers, and for how long. It may be that some things can be resolved relatively quickly, but others are more involved, needing more detailed discussion and perhaps input from a pension specialist or family consultant to help you reach a decision that is acceptable to you both.
The important thing is that you are in the driving seat, taking control of the decisions that need to be made and making them in the best interests of your family and your future.
We’re not saying it’s easy – we know it rarely is – but by taking back control you are at least making it possible to work through things at your own pace, setting the agenda and making your own decisions rather than having decisions imposed upon you, with the added benefit of your own legal advisers on hand at every stage to guide you both through your decision making.
If you’d like to talk more about the collaborative approach to see if it could be right for you or someone you know, many of our members offer a free initial meeting. You can find a collaborative lawyer or family professional in your area via this link.