March 23, 2016

Why collaboration reduces the pain and cost of divorce

By Peter Jones, founder

It is encouraging to see how Coldplay singer, Chris Martin, is championing the collaborative approach to his marriage break-up when describing his ‘wonderful’ divorce from Gwyneth Paltrow.

Media reports say they have agreed to share care of their two children and split their joint £120 million fortune equally.

The couple’s decision to avoid a costly courtroom battle over the division of their assets and children’s futures and opt for a harmonious separation – will no doubt strike a chord with many people seeking a civilised and low-key process.

However, collaboration is certainly not only for the rich and famous. In fact, whatever your financial resources, it makes sense to reach agreement in a non-confrontational process, particularly if children are involved.

The parties each appoint their own collaboratively trained lawyer. They meet to work things out and are backed up by support and legal advice. All sign a contract committing them to trying to resolve matters by agreement, without going to court. It places emphasis on respectful and dignified resolution, putting any children at the heart of the process and keeping the details private.

It likewise provides a compelling argument for arbitration, an alternative to courts introduced four years ago. As the first qualified arbitrator in Leeds  – and among the first trained arbitrators in the UK – I can vouch at first hand that this option is quicker and simpler and can also be less distressing for all parties. Arbitration is also likely to be more cost effective because it is not subject to the same delays as the court process.

A family arbitrator decides on who should have what and, just like a judge, bases that decision on relevant facts and evidence – taking into account the views of both parties. The award is final and binding on both parties.

Another choice for divorce by settlement, rather than dispute and court ruling, is Mediation, which involves an independent third party – a mediator – who helps both sides come to an agreement. It is a highly effective method for couples to discuss issues between them that can result in a swift resolution and save on legal expenses.

Jones Myers has vast experience helping couples reach a constructive settlement to their differences, avoiding protracted arguments and promoting co-operation between them.

If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative process, contact Norman Taylor at Jones Myers for a free of charge conversation about the process and its suitability for your situation.

If you have any comments, queries or concerns on wider divorce related issues, leave a comment below, call the Jones Myers team on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.