Divorce solicitors increasingly using collaborative law to settle cases earlier

New research suggests that when divorce solicitors assist in reaching a settlement collaboratively then the process is quicker than if it had been dealt with according to the traditional system.

The survey of divorce solicitors, conducted by family law association Resolution, shows that two thirds of cases settled collaboratively had done so earlier than they would have been otherwise. Using collaborative law, divorce solicitors also found that they acheived a high average settlement rate of 85%.

Furthermore, the survey found a substantial increase in the number of collaborative cases dealt with by divorce solicitors, increasing from 304 in 2006 to 558 in 2007.

Divorce solicitors outline the benefits

Using a collaborative approach, both parties and their divorce solicitors would meet on a number of ocassions in "four-way meetings" rather than go to court. Divorce solicitor Chloe Burrows, of Dawsons, explains: "It enables clients to be more proactively involved in making decisions for the family in the context of divorce proceedings, and can achieve more creative and flexible solutions to issues than those which may result from traditional litigation methods."

Divorce solicitors surveyed by Resolution described achieving outcomes that would not otherwise have been possible such as reaching a settlement that takes into account financial contributions from other family or future family members. Divorce solicitors were also afforded greater freedom in cases involving the separation of cohabiting couples, allowing more generous settlements or treatment of the children as if they had been married.

However, divorce solicitors did emphasise the importance of screening clients to determine suitability. The traditional approach is more appropriate in certain cases and for the collaborative process to work, divorce solicitors would require the parties involved to maintain mutual trust and respect and approach the meetings with an open mind.

Ask your divorce solicitor if you feel the collaborative approach would be of benefit in your case.

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