Collaborative Law And Having Children At The Heart Of The Process

Collaborative Law And Having Children At The Heart Of The Process

Many of the separating people who choose to work together to sort out their arrangements following separation under the Collaborative Law process, choose to do so because their priority is to ensure that their children are protected from conflict and the potentially damaging effects of divorce and separation.

The Collaborative Law approach is a multidisciplinary approach, that seeks to use a variety of professionals to support the couple and their children, so that they can move through their separation successfully and go on  to build new lives that are based on mutual goals for their future.

Using shared professionals avoids receiving conflicting advice and keep costs and conflict to a minimum. The process is designed to deal with complex circumstances and assets, as well as the more straight-forward situations.

Professionals regularly included within the process are an Independent Financial Adviser (ideally also Resolution trained and accredited) to help with the numbers and a Family Consultant to assist with the emotional side of the separation, which can be very powerful, and overwhelming at times. Mediators can help if the situation becomes stuck and Collaboratively trained Counsel can give a legal opinion to both parties together if complex legal issues are creating an impasse. Obviously, the Collaborative lawyers will discuss options with those involved and bring in other professionals only where it is cost effective and appropriate to do so.

More recently it has become increasingly clear that there is also a role for the specially trained Child Inclusive Mediator within the Collaborative process. Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) is a process where the child or children are invited to meet with a trained mediator, in a confidential, safe, and informal setting (agreed in advance with their parents). The children are given a space to ‘off-load’ and say how things are for them, express their hopes and fears, and they ultimately decide what will be fed-back to their parents.

Most children involved in this process report being pleased to have had the opportunity to speak to someone impartial and to know that they are being involved in the important decisions that their parents will be making for their future. They understand that the decisions will have a very significant impact on their lives, as well as the lives of their parents.

Children have the process explained, they understand that they are being asked to say how it feels and is for them, that it’s about them having a voice but not a choice, as it will be their parents who ultimately make the decisions. Their expectations are managed, and children are very able to understand and to speak for themselves and have important things to say that they would like their parents to hear. 

Child Inclusive Mediation ensures that children do not feel invisible within the process of divorce or separation and can be very powerful in keeping children as the focus of any negotiations. If you would like to know more, please contact one of our Collaborative colleagues within the group and they will be happy to discuss all aspects of the process with you. Please go to our Contacts page.

Sybilla Agasee

Sybilla Agasee
Agasee Law Associates

Child Inclusive Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer. 

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