What is collaborative law?
Collaborative law is an alternative way of resolving family law matters, including separation and divorce. It encourages people to try to resolve their difficulties in a non-confrontational manner, with the help of collaborative lawyers, and avoid the use of court.
Through face-to-face meetings, the parties discuss and resolve issues such as custody and access to children, maintenance and property rights. The process is dependent on both parties making full and frank disclosure of all of their assets so that negotiations can be open and honest.
If the process is successful the parties have an agreement for which they both have a responsibility. The agreement can be drawn into a deed of separation or used as a basis for a decree of divorce.
If the process breaks down, the collaborative lawyers effectively walk away and will not represent either party in court. If the matter proceeds to court the parties must instruct new lawyers.
The Legal Aid Board can provide a lawyer trained in collaborative law for those eligible for legal aid.
The Irish Assocation of Collaborative Professionals promotes the use of collaborative law. Visit www.acp.ie.
Page updated: 14 December 2011