Collaborative divorce: avoiding the divorce courts

Brought to you by our friends at Stephens Scown Solicitors

Divorce or the breakdown of a family unit can be difficult at the best of times but some couples are opting to reduce the stress by seeking an agreement without involving the courts.

The collaborative divorce process allows couples (married or not), and their legal representatives, to resolve matters between themselves, without involving the court. The results are faster, costs are more easily controlled and the process is constructive, rather than confrontational.

Collaboration requires a refreshingly different approach to traditional divorced, as Jo Stone, Partner and Head of Stephens Scown LLP’s family law team in Truro explains: “A collaborative agreement requires more transparency, pragmatism and information sharing. It builds trust between separating couples.

“To achieve a successful outcome both spouses need to be open and transparent with each other and be prepared to move towards an agreement which works for both parties for the long term. They must both employ a lawyer who is trained in collaborative law.”

Although it has some clear benefits, the collaborative process is not suitable for everyone. If you feel unable to trust your partner or discuss matters openly, traditional divorce involving the courts may be the better option.

Collaborative divorce involves a series of carefully planned round table meetings involving both lawyers and spouses. A written participation agreement ensures that neither party will rush off to court, and that neither party will keep any secrets from the other. Jo Stone, who is trained in collaborative divorce explains: “It turns the traditional cloak and dagger approach on its head: it is open, constructive and requires the couple to work together, which is essential where they may have children or business interests in common for years to come.”

Stephens Scown’s family law team is regarded as one of the best in the South West, consistently being given top ranking by independent legal guides Chambers and Legal 500. Jo Stone can be contacted on 01872 265100 email or

March 8, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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