Collaborative Divorce News
Hanni Pennelegion - Barcan + Kirby
Clare Webb - Sharp Family Law
Julia Smart - Metcalfes
Anna Wilson - Barcan + Kirby
John Pratley - Simpson Millar
Chris Miller - Barcan + Kirby
Jo Morris - AMD Solicitor
Sharon Giles - Sharp Family Law
Elizabeth Bruce - The Family Law Practice
Alison Whiles - Barcan + Kirby
Richard Sharp - Sharp Family Law
Jim Gridley - Barcan + Kirby
The following family lawyers are all participating in the initiative;
Family lawyers from several Bristol law firms have launched an initiative aimed at bringing certainty to the costs of a Collaborative Divorce. The Fixed Fee Collaborative Divorce means that your lawyers are keen to help you reach a collaborative resolution as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You are not alone in the process. You both appoint your own collaboratively-trained lawyers. They will be with you throughout and so you will have their support and legal advice all the way through.
To show your commitment to working in this way, you all sign what is called a Participation Agreement, which focuses the four of you on resolving the issues within the meetings. This will prevent your lawyers from representing you in court if the collaborative process breaks down. However, the aim of this is to ensure that you remain respectful towards each another, negotiate in good faith and provide full and early disclosure of relevant information. This should help you work towards a positive outcome so that, ultimately, there is no need to defer to the court process.
The issues will vary and depend on your own individual circumstances but might typically include a discussion about your children. You may also go on to discuss how financial information will be shared and agree on who will bring what information to the next meeting.
The second meeting will deal with your particular priorities and concerns to help you find long-term solutions. You might consider involving other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning or people trained to assist children in understanding and coping with the changes that your separation will bring to their lives.
After the final meeting, documents detailing the agreements you have reached will be prepared by your lawyers. They will then be discussed with you before they are signed. Your lawyers will talk you through anything else that needs to be done in order to put your agreement into effect.
Advantages and Eligibility
Our aim is to ensure that all our fees are open and transparent. Within our fixed fee information, we clearly indicate what is and isn’t included within the standard package.
3rd party costs including but not limited to work carried out by Conveyancers, Financial Neutrals, Couples and Family Therapists, Child Specialists.
Alison Dukes - AMD Solicitors
If you are considering or going through separation, divorce or dissolution then this Christmas may be a particularly hard time of year, when all around you others are seemingly happy enjoying the celebrations. All media advertising portrays the rest of the world joyfully eating, drinking and being merry. At every turn one is reminded of what might have been.
A positive way through this might be to focus on the New Year - traditionally a time for ‘Resolutions’ to improve one’s life over the coming year - and to begin to make plans for an alternative future. My experience over the last 15 years, acting on behalf of clients who are separating or divorcing, has told me that it is so important to consider yourself when you are going through this process and that amidst the stress and anxiety, this is very often forgotten.
If you are considering separation or divorce here are some ideas for a New Year’s Resolution:
If you are sure your relationship has no future, and you are going through separation or divorce:
Wishing you a peaceful and hopeful Christmas and New Year.
Katy Zikking is a specialist family solicitor at Harbour Family Law Solicitors. You can contact her by e-mail at: email@example.com or by calling 01179 055141 or 01275 390454.
If you want to know more about the benefits of having a more constructive separation and how to go about it, please read our website, watch our videos and contact a professional from this website who can tell you more. Our website brings together all collaboratively trained professionals in the South West and its environs. If we’re not in your area, please visit the Resolution website for a full list of Resolution members.
Katy Zikking of QualitySolicitors Burroughs Day in Bristol has the following top five tips for a Silver Divorce:
Under the theme “So where do we go from here?” the conference met its objective of reflecting on the progress made over the last decade and looking to the future of collaborative practice. The feedback from attendees has been very positive with many feeling fully reinvigorated.
The full agenda included the following presentations:
An opening talk from Rachel Osgood, Chair of The Collaborative Group
Coaching and the Collaborative Process, presented by Karen Morley and Bethen Hartley of Better Life Coaching
Mapping Paths to Family Justice – some preliminary findings, presented by Professors Anne Barlow (University of Exeter)
Get Artisan, presented by Neil Denny - lawyer, trainer, author and expert on collaborative practice and conflict management
A Perfect Storm, presented by James Pirrie - solicitor, collaborative practitioner, arbitrator, and long-standing member of Resolution’s national committee (his A Corridor of Processes spreadsheet can be downloaded here)
Closing words, Mr Justice Baker - High Court Judge (Family Division), liaison judge for the Western Circuit
For copies of the presentations please click the links above where links are available. For further information on Neil Denny’s presentation, please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
With collaborative practice in England and Wales fast approaching its 10th birthday, the Group has chosen the theme “So where do we go from here?” to reflect both the progress made over the last decade, and their thoughts as to the future of collaborative practice. There is an action-packed agenda, and a stellar cast of speakers, all designed to stimulate debate and re-invigorate practitioners as you return to your offices and prepare for the further development of collaborative practice! The end of the CPD year is also approaching, and the conference will therefore provide many of you with a much-needed opportunity to gain 6 accredited points - and all this for the bargain price of £100.
The event is expected to be popular, but space is limited, and so tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. A booking form is attached, together with payment instructions, and a programme of speakers. Please note that due to the limited space available and what they are sure will be high demand, tickets will only be reserved upon payment.
Attendance is not limited to members of Collaborative Family Lawyers so please encourage all your collaborative colleagues to register.
The Collaborative Group looks forward to welcoming as many practitioners as possible to the wonderful City of Winchester.
Please click here to download the agenda and booking form.
Further news and invitations will follow shortly and in the meantime, be sure to save the date!
Sharon Giles, Associate Solicitor at Thrings
All too often children are the silent victims of divorce. Situations arising beyond their control and, often, quite out of the blue expose them to conflict, unhappy atmospheres, change of house, change of school, change of friends, absent parents, replacement parents... The list goes on yet, very seldom, do children’s views and feelings become a part of the process unless the subject of dispute becomes them and how their time is to be shared between their parents
Collaborative process is special here because focus at the very outset can be on your children and best outcomes for them and both of you. The same difficult issues arising from family breakdown will need to be tackled but in an open and supported environment. You are encouraged to bring your most difficult discussions to the collaborative meetings thus saving your children from seeing Mum distraught at the kitchen table as she reads a letter from Dad’s solicitor which tells her she must get a job, claim tax credits and take over the mortgage payments for the house.
Many of my clients who opt for collaborative process have said “My parents had a terrible divorce…I want to protect my children from that”. Such strong motivation binds them to a process where conflict is replaced by constructive negotiation. We all work together to find best possible solutions. There will be compromise. There will be upset. There will also be exploration of options, understanding and focus on the whole family unit, not just one member of it.
If you are a divorcing parent now, just think. How will your children remember their experience of your divorce..?
Patricia Mallon’s opening address picked up and gave voice to this spirit perfectly, focusing on the theme of reconciliation, the healing of old wounds through new collaborations built on dialogue where past differences become a shared source of regret rather than a cause for further entrenched polarising. Listening to her talk, in the airy grandeur of the main hall at Ashton Court Mansion, gave me much the same feeling as watching Obama’s speech in Westminster Hall - a sense of the defensive posturing we all so easily fall into when we feel threatened being seen for what it is; an artificial boundary between nations, cultures and the old and new that stunts our shared potential rather than enabling it.
The point that this proneness to anxious tribalism is just as strong in us collaborative professionals as in our divorcing clients was implied, if not actually stated, more powerfully at this conference than at any other I’ve attended. Tricia Peters’ address, after lunch, taking up Patricia Mallon’s earlier themes with remarkable synchronicity, was a deliciously unpretentious call-to-collaborative-arms - an urge to just get on with it, to try things, to work out what works by doing it, and most of all to do this with colleagues who we like the look of who are from outside the comfort zone of our own professional groupings. Tricia described this as the ‘second paradigm shift’ for lawyers, the first having been from litigation to collaborative law, this one the move from collaborative law to fully integrated, interdisciplinary collaborative practice. This was powerful indeed from a non-legal keynote speaker; a professional who has fought for her own equal standing at the collaborative gate, so to speak. Perhaps it’s not surprising in this particular gathering - many of us intrigued by the vision of the second shift even if a little daunted by the detail of its implementation - that her words were so welcome and inspiring.
As one of the seminar leaders, something else I noticed with quiet pleasure was the depth of the questions I was asked at my sessions, and the compassionate interest they showed in the subjective life of our clients. This reminded me of something I was told by members of the Vancouver collaborative group - that in a well-seasoned and experienced interdisciplinary setting it becomes hard to distinguish the lawyers from the FCs from the IFAs. Their ways of thinking and talking about clients become increasingly similar as they borrow the best from each other’s ways of working. The groups I worked with at Ashton Court were clearly on that journey, and clearly enjoying the wider field of awareness they were gaining from it.
As I was leaving the conference I remarked to a colleague that I felt as if I’d been at a wedding - one where I couldn’t entirely let my hair down because I had a responsible role to fulfill! It was an off-the-cuff remark made without thought. But later I remembered writing somewhere else that in order to facilitate our clients towards getting the best possible divorce, we as collaborative professionals need to forge the best possible ‘marriages‘ between ourselves. Maybe the ‘marriage’ idea wasn’t, then, quite so whacky. In fact, maybe it summed up the very essence of why this day could be as enjoyable as it was while also mattering so much.
by Chris Mills
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