Collaborative law

collaborative lawPauline Kennedy is an experienced collaborative lawyer.

Collaborative Law was introduced in Ireland some years ago. It is a process of assisting couples to reach agreement on custody, access, property division and maintenance in a respectful manner that preserves cordial ongoing contact for the benefit of the separating couple and their children. It differs from mediation in that each of the parties are represented by their respective collaboratively trained lawyers in a number of four-way meetings where their issues are discussed and hopefully, consensus reached. The separating parties are at the centre of the process and actively involved in the negotiating process which is an empowering process. The role of the collaborative lawyer is to ensure that the process is a fair one, that the negotiations are conducted in a non-contentious environment and that full financial disclosure has been made by both parties. Any additional expert opinion that is required in relation to financial issues can be agreed and shared between the parties. The aim is to reach a consensual agreement the terms of which can be ruled by the Court in consent Judicial Separation or Divorce Applications. In the event that the collaborative law agreement aborts because of perhaps a lack of trust or because the parties are unable to reach agreement neither lawyer can continue to act for their client in any future contentious litigation between the parties. Many couples are extremely pleased with the way in which collaborative law has enabled them to organise the apportionment of family assets in a sensitive manner.