COVID-19 and working with you

COVID-19 has affected us all and impacted upon our lives over the past few months. We have all needed to work together to stay safe. As a group, we want to reassure you that we are available during these unprecedented times.

Safety is paramount and we all have a responsibility to protect one another, especially the more vulnerable members of our community. However, we do have technology in place that will allow us to “meet” virtually and communicate effectively with you.

Importantly, we plan to continue offering the same high level of service, albeit in a non face to face environment.

We are well equipped and also experienced in conducting and carrying our virtual meetings.

Our preferred methods for virtual meetings are either Zoom or Skype, although we can use others.

You can continue to call us on our usual office number. If we are unavailable, please do leave a message. We will get back to you.

The (Re-) Introduction No Fault Divorce – What Does It Mean In Reality?

So, the New Year of 2020 support the immediate reintroduction into Parliament of the much talked about Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill 2019/20.

After two previously aborted attempts to introduce this Bill to Parliament, the first as a result of the Prorogation debacle and the second as a result of the calling of a General Election, it was refreshing to see a majority government acting quickly to reintroduce the Bill to Parliament.

For those that take an interest in this kind of thing, the Bill introduces the promise of no fault divorce being legislated for the first time in UK law. Equally interesting is that there is genuine cross party majority support across the house for the introduction of this legislation.

If enacted, it would also see the end to what has been a 20+ year campaign by Resolution for the introduction of no fault divorce into UK law.

Whilst it is easy to celebrate the introduction of this Bill, it is probably fair to say that given its troubled journey to date, genuine celebration should not begin until the legislation is actually enacted and no fault divorce becomes a fact of the UK legal landscape.

Reflecting on this however has caused me to think more about my role not only as a family lawyer, but also as a trained collaborative family lawyer. For many years now, members of Resolution have been committed to the constructive and non-confrontational approach enshrined in our Code of Practice that is familiar to members and clients alike. 

However, the imminent introduction of no fault divorce brings back into focus for me the positive benefits of engaging in the collaborative family law process in order to resolve issues in relation to children and finances.

To those unfamiliar with the collaborative family law process, both parties instruct independent legal advisers in order to enter into the collaborative process but, as part of that instruction, agree at the outset that there will be no court proceedings and that all discussions will take place face to face in four-way meetings. These meetings often involve the assistance of other neutrals such as accountants, financial advisers, family therapists and barristers.

By taking this approach, it is proven how much more beneficial this can be to enable parties to work through the issues in the most constructive and non-confrontational way and help them retain integrity and respect for each other, and enable them to focus on any children involved.

It is my sincere hope that the introduction of no fault divorce will aid those entering the divorce process to reflect and consider how putting aside blame and fault, and focusing instead on what is really important to bring these difficult matters to a conclusion, can be of huge benefit to all involved.

I for one hope that we will see a higher take-up and more interest from everyone involved in the family law community for the collaborative law process as one of the better ways to resolve any matters that couples and families need to deal with.

It remains to be seen whether this can be achieved but certainly the introduction of this Bill, and thereafter legislation, can only be a positive step in this regard.

Can Collaborative Divorce Save Time And Money As Well As Protecting Families?

There is no question that divorce and separation is a time of high stress and emotion for all parties involved, including children who are caught up in proceedings.

What is clear from research carried out by Resolution is that parties who separate or divorce using the Collaborative process properly, can often minimise much of this stress and emotional anxiety.

There has been much said and written about traditional family litigation being phased out in preference for alternative ways of resolving problems, with lawyers increasingly encouraged to work with parties to find amicable and constructive ways forward in divorce and separation matters.

Whilst the majority of clients that we now encounter respond to this kind of approach, we also acknowledge that divorce is still a difficult and painful process. Those of who practice Collaborative Family Law, can see the obvious benefits of using this process for the above reasons, but could this actually provide additional benefits in terms of time, money and future family relationships?

By entering into the Collaborative process, parties to a divorce or separation are assisted by Collaborative trained professionals who will assist them in resolving their own issues in an open and constructive environment. It is this environment that can save time and money, not only through the process, but thereafter.

By also committing not to enter into court proceedings, this also has the added advantage of removing the threat of such proceedings over the parties and encourages people to work together to find lasting outcomes for themselves and their families.

Obviously, by entering into open and constructive discussion and avoiding court proceedings, this can save considerable time and cost in terms of the processes that people employ.

However, over and above this, the way that parties interact with each other during the Collaborative process, in terms of reaching agreements around their separation, financial affairs and their children, creates a framework for future discussions and a format of resolving disputes that can work to protect the best interests of families.

When looking at the benefits of the Collaborative process, we believe that these can fairly be summarised as follows;

The protection of children

Children are often impacted by contested divorce proceedings and anyone who has gone through the court process knows how difficult this can be. By collaborating to find the best solutions for themselves and their children, parents often find a new way of communicating that is centred around the best interests of their children in the future and this can take away a huge amount of the potential distress that conflict often causes.

Saving time and money
When compared to litigation, the Collaborative process will invariably be considerably cheaper and quicker. Traditional litigation can often cause parties to become entrenched in their positions making the process slower and even more expensive over time.

The protection of extended family
Whenever there is litigation, inevitably, extended family and friends become engaged and are often forced to choose who they support. This can have long-lasting impact on both family and friends and ultimately damage longer term relationships not only with the parties but also the children at the centre of the dispute.


In an increasing age of transparency, many clients want to keep their divorce and financial affairs out of the public domain. The Collaborative process is entirely confidential and can maintain everyone’s privacy.

In summary, we believe that the Collaborative process achieves not only a high success rate in terms of outcome, but more importantly meets parties needs and requirements in terms of preserving their dignity and respect, as well as being a timely and cost effective process . It can also have additional benefits in terms of the protection of family relationships long after any divorce or separation is concluded in a legal sense.

Contact details of qualified Collaborative professionals in the Black Country area who can provide you with more information can be found here