Day 2 of Collaborative Family Law Week is about staying out of court.
“I only want what’s fair. But who decides?”
If you presented the same information to six different people and asked for their opinion, what are the chances that their responses would all be the same? The same applies when it comes to asking a judge to rule on the details of your divorce.If you present the facts of your case to six different judges, you will almost certainly come away with six different outcomes. Hardly surprising when you consider that one person’s view of what is ‘fair’ is likely to differ from someone else’s. So if that’s the case, why would you put your desire for a ‘fair’ outcome for your divorce into someone else’s hands?
There are a number of reasons why it can be beneficial to make agreements out of court using the collaborative approach. Not least the fact that you can discuss and agree on anything and everything that’s important to both of you, and also to your family, as you move forward with your lives.
And we really do mean anything. From who pays the mortgage and for how long to who walks the dog, the things you agree in the four-way meetings between you, your ex and your respective lawyers can be written into an agreement alongside the things you need a judge to rule on to make your final agreement legally binding.
This simply isn’t possible if you are involved in contested financial remedy proceedings, because there are limits as to what a judge can order.
It’s the little things that matter most
A lot of people don’t realise that there are limitations to the things judges can rule on, and that they won’t look at every single aspect of your divorce or separation. In practice, this means that some of the things that are important to you and your ex won’t necessarily fall within a judge’s jurisdiction.
We see this a lot where pets are concerned. One separating couple, who had two dogs, decided they would have a dog each. But they didn’t want the dogs to lose out on the companionship they had enjoyed through their lives together. Through the collaborative process, they made an agreement to meet regularly so that the dogs could be walked together. This is not something on which a judge would normally rule. Including this in the settlement agreement for the judge to ‘rubber stamp’ alongside the issues they ruled on meant that the couple could move forward with clarity on things that were important to them.
Using collaborative and avoiding court means that you can decide and agree on what’s ‘fair’, rather than putting decisions about your future lives in the hands of a judge. People who’ve been through the process say that it helped them map out a clearer path to a more constructive future after divorce.
You can find a lawyer or family professional to discuss your options via this link.
Our specialist Collaborative Family Lawyer is Mark Harrison who is based at our Gateshead office. Please feel free to contact him on 0191 477 6333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark offers a free 30 minute consultation to all potential collaborative clients to give them further information and advice about the process.