One of the many unfortunate and tragic consequences of Covid-19 is the dramatic increase in couples looking to separate or divorce. The stress of lockdown and the resultant changes to how we live, including working from home, couples forced to spend more time together than they normally would, and economic pressures means many relationships are struggling under the strain.
According to a recent report in the New Zealand Herald, “Some prospective divorcees wanting advice or legal intervention are being turned down - forced to either represent themselves in court,or sit on waitlists for weeks.”
At Aspiring Law, we specialise in Collaborative Practice to work through separations and divorce. Collaborative law or collaborative practice is a way to resolve disputes without having to go through the court system. Rather than seeing separation as a bitter fight between two partners, the collaborative practice process aims to help the respective parties troubleshoot and problem solve to reach an amicable agreement.
Some of the advantages of Collaborative Practice include:
- Costs: A Collaborative Practice solution helps avoid the spiraling costs associated with court proceedings and the adversarial “to and fro” between lawyers;
- Respect: Typically, partners can resolve their issues in a much more dignified, non-acrimonious way. Parties can negotiate in good faith and achieve an outcome that they mutually agree upon;
- Speed: The process is generally much quicker and more efficient than the long, drawn-out saga of a courtroom separation or time delays caused by lawyers exchanging letters;
- Control: Both parties can exert more control over the timing, the issues to be discussed and crucial decisions about assets and children rather than trusting those decision to a third party;
- Expert advice: Collaborative law practitioners are experts when it comes to these types of negotiations and can provide advice and support to help both parties come to an agreement;
- Confidentiality: It is easier to maintain your privacy if you go through a collaborative practice process behind closed doors rather than in the public courtroom;
- Think about the children: If children are involved, then collaborative practice is much less damaging and harmful to them than watching their parents go through an often bitter divorce through the courts;
- Think about your partner: The chances of being able to have some kind of ongoing relationship with your ex is much more likely if you can come to a civilised agreement.
One of the benefits of Collaborative Practice is that practitioners are trained to help you identify and explore a wider range of solutions and outcomes that focus on your individual interests, rather than the narrower range of considerations that can occur with a more traditional legal analysis of your situation.
A breakdown in a relationship involves a lot of conflict, high emotions. Collaborative Practice recognizes that emotional issues play a huge part in any separation that are not addressed by the legal system. Emotional and psychological issues are generally ignored in the court process. In contrast, the Collaborative Practice process acknowledges and addresses these issues by providing support and advice to both parties to help them work through their issues and come up with a solution that is in the best interests of both parties.