The concept of Collaborative Practice is a new idea for most people. The approach addresses the needs of all involved, and in family disputes, the needs of the whole family. Resolution is achieved through the participation of both parties meeting together at the same table with the help of other practitioners including lawyers, family consultants, financial neutrals, child specialists etc. It is important to be assured that it is a structured approach aimed at equitable resolution. There are several steps in the process once it is initiated and both parties are engaged with it.
The process begins when one of you embarking on a separation or divorce contacts a Collaborative Practitioner. You will then be put in contact with the other practitioners that may be needed to commence the process. All negotiations take place with the parties present. The Practitioners’ role is to guide and advise the parties towards the best solution to the dispute. While legal advice is an integral part of the process, you and your former partner/spouse make all of the decisions. The Practitioners use their skills in conflict resolution to help the you both reach your best outcome.
Once everyone agrees to participate in the collaborative process, a schedule of meetings will be arranged.
The process is flexible and will expand or contract to meet your unique needs. A series of meetings will be geared towards resolution of the various issues that can be encountered in Separation and/or Divorce.
Once issues are agreed the lawyers draft a binding agreement in the form of a Separation Agreement for you both to sign which is a contract between you or alternatively, Terms of Settlement, which can be ruled by the court.
If there is a pension involved, then you may require a pension adjustment order which can only be obtained from the Court. Whilst the terms of a divorce can be agreed between you in the Collaborative Process, it is the court that grants the legal Decree of Divorce. Once all of the issues have been agreed this is a relatively simple part of the process that happens at the end. A Decree of Divorce can only be obtained from the Court.
For further information talk to your collaborative lawyer.
What Is a Collaborative Practitioner?
Any of the following professionals who have successfully completed a recognised training in collaborative practice and are registered with the Association of Collaborative Practitioners in Ireland.
- Psychotherapists/Collaborative Facilitator
- Financial experts
- Child specialists
- Pension experts
Introducing Collaborative Practice to Your Spouse/Partner
Your spouse/partner must agree to engage in the Collaborative process. They need to instruct their own solicitor/family consultant who is also trained in the collaborative process. Not all family lawyers/family consultants are trained in collaborative practice. Click here for a list collaboratively trained practitioners.
The Association of Collaborative Practitioners has put together a guide which may be helpful to furnish to your Spouse/Partner to introduce the concept of the Collaborative Practice approach. This PDF guide is suitable for printing or can be emailed.