Collaborative Family Law Week Day 1: Positive Starts
If you’ve heard of collaborative family law at all, the chances are it’s been linked to divorce. But collaborative law isn’t just about supporting people through separation or divorce. It can also help to set a relationship or marriage off on a positive footing.
Think about it: sitting down before you move in together or start planning your wedding to talk about your future and aspirations for your life together makes perfect sense. So why not have that same conversation with people alongside you who can help you consider and plan for things you might not think of?
The number of people putting a prenup on their wedding checklist is on the increase and, according to the Office for National Statistics, cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing family type over the last 20 years. The collaborative process provides an open and supportive environment for taking control of your own affairs and agreeing your future, either through a pre-nuptial agreement (if you’re getting married) or a cohabitation agreement (if you’re buying a house to live in together).
The discussions involved in preparing both of those documents cover a range of topics that you otherwise might not discuss in such depth: how you manage your finances, structure your pension, provide for any children you might have – among other things. This gives you the opportunity to discuss and agree these things, and more, before you get married or move in together, rather than them rearing their head and causing tension at a later date when you discover - for example - that one of you wants to send your children to private school and the other doesn’t.
A strong foundation
Taking the time to talk and work through these issues together when your relationship is in a good place will arguably give your relationship an even stronger foundation. Doing this in a collaborative setting - which means sitting round a table together, each with a lawyer advising you independently - means you are more likely to reach agreements that you both feel are fair. And, if your circumstances change over the years ahead, a post-nuptial or post-cohabitation agreement can be used to revisit your original plans and make any alterations you choose to make.
Collaborative law doesn’t just come into its own when a relationship has broken down. The open, supportive and cooperative nature of the process means it can work just as effectively to help you define your relationship on your terms. So if you’re considering a prenup or cohabitation agreement, it’s well worth giving some thought to the process you choose to create that agreement and the lawyer(s) you choose to advise you.
You can find out more about how collaborative law works here.
To view this blog post on the CFL North website click here.