Collaborative – How well do you know your partner?

April 11, 2017 by Sue McArthur


According to new research from relationships support charity OnePlusOne, a quarter of British parents living with their partner and children have secretly considered separating from or divorcing their partner. Are they thinking about the Collaborative Process?

Apparently the poll uncovered that 6 in 10 people in a relationship admit to having relationship problems, a quarter have never sought help from friends, family, professionals or any other source to help them manage these. In the first instance a quarter of people would turn to friends for advice, closely followed by family and then the Internet.

What we find is when people come to us to discuss divorce or separation, they have often been thinking about it for months, if not years. However seeking help at an earlier stage could be the first step in resolving problems and enabling families to stay together.

As family lawyers we do find that the additional stress over school holidays and at Christmas can bring problems to the surface and it can often be the last straw.

How to separate (if indeed that is the final decision) is extremely important. There are a variety of options open to couples and several of them do not involve going to court. Of course every case is different and everyone’s circumstances are unique, but keeping proceedings out of court is usually the best option for everyone concerned, and particularly if children are involved. We always explore the possibility of resolving matters as amicably as possible. Here in the North East there are a huge number of family lawyers who are also trained as collaborative lawyers and mediators. This gives separating couples an easily accessible wide range of options which should be explained in detail at a first meeting with a lawyer.

By working collaboratively or mediating, separating couples can keep discussions out of court. Indeed at the start of the collaborative process, everyone signs an agreement to say that the case will not go through court and everything will be dealt with in a series of meetings around the table and as amicably as possible.

When consulting a family lawyer do check to see if they are a member of Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers committed to dealing with matters in a non-confrontational way, preserving the couple’s dignity and encouraging agreement, which is better for everyone in the long run.


By Fiona Ryans

Beecham Peacock Solicitors