What would be expected of me and my spouse/partner?
From the outset, you would both need to :
You may be required to disclose information and/or documents regarding your financial position. You will be expected to co-operate and to be open and truthful. Failure to commit and/or co-operate is likely to cause the process to fail. If the process breaks down, both Collaborative Lawyers will be required to withdraw from any further participation and you and your spouse/partner will need to consult new solicitors to represent you in any court proceedings.
There will be a series, usually no more than four, four-way meetings involving you, your spouse/partner, your collaborative lawyer and your spouse/partner’s collaborative lawyer.
If necessary, and you and your spouse/partner agree, your collaborative lawyers may suggest inviting one or more of the following experts to join one or more of your meetings:
Before the first meeting you, your spouse/partner and the lawyers will enter into an agreement not to go to court.
Prior to each 4-way meeting, you may have a separate meeting with your collaborative lawyer following which the lawyers will get together to draw up an agenda ahead of the next meeting. Each 4-way meeting will give you and your spouse/partner the opportunity, with the aid of your lawyers and any experts, if required, to move matters towards an amicable conclusion.
Following each meeting, you and your spouse/partner will be sent Minutes of the meeting together with any other necessary documentation to prepare you for the next meeting. Other than this, there is unlikely to be any other form of correspondence passing between the participants.
If agreement can be reached, there will be a final meeting to discuss the terms of the agreement. At or following that meeting, the lawyers will draw up the necessary documentation to reflect what has been agreed. This will be presented to the court for approval without any of the participants having to attend court.
What kind of things can be dealt with through the collaborative process?