The British Collaborative Movement

An article in The Independent, a British newspaper, discussing the effect of the current recession, discussed the recession’s effect on divorce.  The article quoted a British divorce attorney as follows:  “Increasing numbers of her clients are turning to a pioneering scheme which Brethertons have imported from the United States. Called Collaborative Law it strives to promote fair and conciliatory settlements. “Divorce is a sad fact of life,” says Jones. “The important thing is how people handle it. The quicker it is addressed the better the chances a couple can come out not exactly friends but united in the parenting of their children. Under this collaborative scheme couples enter into a contract not to go to court, to put the children first, to treat each other with respect, to adopt a problem-solving stance and put the interests of the family as a whole before their own individual interests.”  The scheme is gaining popularity as economic times get harder. Divorce is expensive and the litigation route is rigid. A couple can spend £40,000 on legal fees which would be better spent on a deposit for a new home for the husband. “This is much more controlled emotionally,” Brethertons’ head of family law says. “As lawyers we don’t make as much money from this as from litigation but we make up for that because we’re handling more cases this way.”  Recession has given the approach a real boost. “Women like it because it feels emotionally better,” she adds, “and men like it because it gives them more control and it’s cheaper. And its better for the kids.””

About Daniel Margolin

Daniel Margolin is a founding partner of Stephens & Margolin LLP and a Portland, Oregon native. His practice focuses on all aspects of family law litigation. Dan applies his litigation expertise to provide additional expertise when assisting clients with Family Law Appeals and Collaborative Divorce matters. To find out more or contact Daniel Margolin, visit Stephens & Margolin LLP
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3 Responses to The British Collaborative Movement

  1. In my view, there are three reasons why collaborative law has taken off in England:

    Conciliation – Family Lawyers in England subscribe to a code of practice set down by the Family Lawyers organisation Resolution. Membership of Resolution commits family lawyers to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way. We in England have long believed that family law disputes should be dealt with in a constructive way designed to preserve people’s dignity and to encourage agreements.

    Demonisation of Litigators – This is where we differ from American collaborative lawyers. We believe that the demonisation of litigation has proved unhelpful to the growth of the collaborative movement in the US. We offer collaboration as one of a number of options which may suit the needs of a particular client or family. Many successful family lawyers in the UK, offer litigation as well as ADR options such as collaborative law.

    The “Magic Circle” – Collaborative law was taken up by our leading family lawyers from the very outset, providing a great example which has now been followed by many.

    In England we stress that the core advantages of collaborative law are:

    Speed — collaboration allows couples to proceed at their own pace rather than having timescales imposed upon them.

    Privacy — the collaborative approach generally contains a commitment that everything stays in the room between the couple and their legal teams.

    Control — divorce may affect other financial and business planning. Collaborative law enables couples to stay in control of the divorce process and enables alignment of planning.

  2. Pingback: BRITAIN: Londoners warm to “collaborative divorce”for children’s sake | Divorce Saloon - The global 24/7 divorce & family law blog

  3. It sounds like the collaborative movement is growing in Britain.

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