Collaborative practice is a new way for divorcing or separating couples to work together as a team, with trained lawyers to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court. Each client has the support, protection and guidance of his or her own lawyer. The lawyers and clients together form the collaborative component of collaborative practice. 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. The main elements of collaborative practice are set out in a contract called a Participation Agreement, which both the lawyers and the clients sign.
Family mediation is a way of resolving disputes including those which arise, before, during or after separation or divorce. It is a voluntary and confidential process enabling parties to explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator. Family mediation provides a safe environment, helping to reduce hostility and improving chances of long term co-operation. The parties have the opportunity to communicate directly with each other rather than via solicitors or across a court room. The mediator’s job is to act as an impartial third party and manage the process of the mediation, helping you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively.