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Collaborative Family Law

January 17, 2023


Collaborative family law is a process whereby both parties agree not to go to court and instead, work together to reach an agreement. There are a series of meetings and the decisions made in those meetings can be made into a binding court order.  

How does it work?

To begin the process, parties sign a Participation Agreement which outlines their commitment to resolving issues without court proceedings with the help of collaborative lawyers. The meetings allow for flexibility and the parties can decide which issues they wish to cover in the meetings. Importantly, the meetings will involve parties with their solicitors representing them. Experts can be introduced if it will prove beneficial in resolving the matter e.g. pension experts, life coaches etc. Moreover, each client can meet independently with their lawyers for guidance before or after the Collaborative meetings. The final decisions made in the meetings will form the settlement agreement which will be made into a binding order by the court.


  • Costs- Costs are reduced with this method in comparison to court proceedings. Clients are able to ensure a swift resolution (where possible) whereas court proceedings can be costly.   
  • Represented by a chosen solicitor- This process differs from mediation because mediation involves a third-party overseeing discussions between the parties often without solicitors present. In Collaborative Law, both parties appoint a solicitor to guide them at meetings where both the solicitors and parties are present. This allows parties to be represented by their chosen solicitor.
  • Personalised approach- Collaborative law offers a more personal approach than the courts. Parties can meet face to face and agree on practical, bespoke solutions for them as they set the agenda. This also means parties may be more likely to adhere to the solutions created because they have come to the solution together as a collective. This ensures it is a more flexible approach as meeting dates can be suited to the individuals involved unlike court hearings.
    – Confidential- It is also completely confidential, discreet and provides a safe environment for parties to introduce ideas.
  • Quicker- This process can be quicker than court hearings. Issues can be resolved at your own pace, with no waiting for court dates. Post Covid-19, Courts have faced a backlog of cases and resolution through alternative methods has proved vital.
  • Communication – The process encourages parties to directly communicate in order to resolve their issues.  This can help promote a more constructive, amicable ongoing working relationship which can be particularly beneficial where parties must continue to parent together long after the divorce/separation has concluded.


  • Requires mutual agreement- To enter into this process, both parties will need to agree to do so. Subsequently, the parties must work together rather than against each other to come to a final agreement that suits them both. Understandably, not every situation allows for this type of resolution.

If you are interested in settling your family matter via a collaborative law process it is important you speak to a lawyer who is collaboratively trained. Kathryn Ferris completed her collaborative training in 2011 so has seen many cases successfully resolved via this method and has witnessed the benefits experienced by clients.  Kathryn can be contacted on 0121 705 7571.

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.