If you have decided to end your marriage, dissolve your civil partnership, or separate from the person you live with, Janet Tresman, family law solicitor at Altermans Solicitors in Finchley, provides a dignified solution known as collaborative family law that avoids the need for court intervention.

Separating couples can find it difficult agree about how joint property such as their home and finances are to be divided. Agreeing arrangements for children is often another area of contention, as emotions run high.

However, not all relationships have to end acrimoniously. The process of collaborative law, which was developed in the USA and made its way here in 2004, provides an alternative way for couples to reach an agreement together about their finances and arrangements for children on separation.

Using the collaborative process is quicker than going to court and provides a binding agreement that will be made by the couple and approved by the court, rather than an order imposed by a judge. This method can avoid months, or years, of debilitating and expensive court hearings, that often drive a couple even further apart and leave a residue of bad feeling that can cause problems in the future, especially if they have children.

Under the collaborative process each person and their lawyer attend a series of meetings together. Other professionals such as accountants, mediators, psychologists, councillors, barristers, arbitrators and independent pension experts and financial advisors can be called upon to help reach a negotiated agreement if necessary.

The couple and their respective solicitors sign a participation agreement that commits them all to trying to resolve the issues without going to court. If the collaborative process breaks down and it ends up in court as a contested application, neither of their solicitors can represent them any further.

“The benefits of the collaborative service are clear”, says Janet, who was one of the first to be trained in England and Wales in 2004 as a Collaborative professional. She also organises a group of varied collaborative professionals. “Couples feel more in control; the process encourages openness and honesty instead of mistrust. By communicating face to face we can help each couple to find constructive solutions that suits their personal situation. They also feel that their solicitors are more committed to finding solutions in a civilised manner as they also have a stake in a good outcome, rather than face their retainer being terminated.”

The collaborative option is suitable for resolving disputes over finances and children in all types of relationship breakdown including separation of cohabiting couples, divorce, and civil partnership dissolution. It can also be used to prepare post and pre-nuptial and cohabiting agreements.

For a confidential discussion about collaborative family law and what it can do for you, contact Janet Tresman, family law consultant at Altermans Solicitors, on 0208 346 1777 or send an email to her, to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Janet is a highly experienced family mediator and collaborative family law solicitor, representing high net worth individuals. She is a long standing member of Resolution and has served as a deputy district judge. Janet delivers a first class service in all aspects of family law, with minimum court intervention.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should.