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A recent case discussed in the Law Gazette evidences the need for a collaborative approach towards divorce proceedings.

The husband and wife were in dispute about the division of their assets on divorce. In addition to the home, the wife made claims that the husband had a beneficial interest in two properties and a restaurant. The matrimonial pot had been valued at just over £700,000 (with the inclusion of the beneficial interest in the properties).

Despite this, the parties racked up over £200,000 in legal fees as a result of their ongoing dispute.

Judge Stephen Wildblood described the dispute between the couple – both of who were found to have lied in parts of their evidence – as ‘a disgraceful example of how financial remedy proceedings should not be conducted’. The lawyers acting were also criticised for the amount of costs that were incurred by the parties.

The new divorce law, which came into effect on 06 April 2022, removes the ‘blame’ element of divorce proceedings and perhaps in turn, enable financial proceedings to progress amicably, where possible. It is hoped that this will avoid these situations.

When discussing the financial consequences of marital breakdown, collaborative family law principles, alongside proportionality in the individual circumstances, should take precedence.

What is collaborative law?

Under the collaborative process, each party can instruct a solicitor of their choice (who are specifically trained in collaborative law) and will then arrange a meeting with both parties and their legal representatives to work through the issues. An agreement will be signed that means each party is committed to resolving issues without starting court proceedings, and if an agreement cannot be reached parties would need to seek alternative legal advice to issue court proceedings. This process allows the parties to negotiate openly and commits them to giving their utmost to resolving finances during this process without the necessity or cost of proceeding to Court

A huge benefit of collaborative law is that parties can take the process at their own pace and enables parties to retain a working relationship which is particularly beneficial when children are involved

The collaborative process is a step in the right direction where couples are committed to trying to avoid conflict and hostility in what is already a distressing period in their lives.

Our collaboratively trained solicitors are on hand to assist. Please contact our specialist Family team on 08000 147720 or send us an email at to book a free half an hour consultation.