Collaborative is a ‘good word’. It entails a more harmonious and amicable resolution of disputes.

Collaborative divorce is gaining traction as an optimal method for couples seeking to address their differences without relying on the court to make decisions on their behalf.

It offers a means to resolve disputes, even where children are involved. This process entails a mutual commitment from both parties and their respective specialised lawyers to engage in a series of face-to-face meetings, aimed at resolving all outstanding matters.

In this collaborative setting, there are no opposing parties; instead, the lawyers cooperate to provide unified/joint advice during these meetings, and refrain from providing ‘positional’ legal advice. The couple commits to full transparency, encouraging open discussion, and ensuring that nothing is withheld. For children aware of this approach, it offers reassurance that their parents are prioritizing their well-being, even while no longer living together.

Integral to the collaborative process is the “participation agreement” that the parties and their lawyers commit to. This agreement emphasizes that if either party withdraws or the process breaks down, new legal representation will be required for each party.

The collaborative process benefits greatly from involving independent experts, be it in financial matters, life coaching, or accounting. This joint approach strengthens cooperation and teamwork between the couple.

The process offers a range of benefits including reduced emotional stress, and cost-efficiency  – the collaborative process can often be quicker and less expensive than traditional litigation, which can very often be protracted, and costly.

Successful completion of this process allows couples to separate and divorce while preserving their dignity and relationships.

Agreements reached through collaborative process can, when appropriate, be submitted to the court for approval, without requiring the physical presence of either party.

By focusing on collaboration rather than contention, collaborative law paves the way for a more harmonious and amicable resolution of disputes.

Chet Ruparelia

Non-Practising Solicitor

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