The collaborative law process can help you decide on your family’s future

‘Using a collaborative approach may be the best option for you and your family’

Imagine having your family’s future determined by a person who you’ve never met, who hasn’t read all of your case’s paperwork and who you’ll never see again. This person may not even specialise in dealing with matrimonial finance cases, but he or she will determine the future of your family. On a good day you may get a good result – but you don’t always get good days.

The Court’s process can be a lottery and the outcome is not easy to predict. It’s very difficult to appeal against an Order unless the Judge has made a serious mistake. This is why many people now chose collaborative law as an option. By keeping control of the process most couples are more likely to resolve their differences in a way that’s best for the family as a whole. This is because the collaborative law process encourages discussions with face-to-face meetings in a safe environment with specialist professionals who are committed to problem solving.

An out of court settlement may be best for your family

Our Family team do their utmost to make sure that our clients are not subjected to this ‘lottery’ and recommend using the collaborative law process where possible. Using round table meetings with a set agenda, the two collaborative law specialists will assist and advise both individuals in a break-up to help facilitate a settlement.

  • Agreeing to the out of court settlement route
    If the two of you want to go down this path you’ll need to instruct a qualified collaborative lawyer and sign a ‘Participation Agreement’ which says that you will not go to court.
  • Flexible resolutions
    Agreements are reached through four-way meetings where you can discuss a broader range of issues than may be possible in court proceedings. This means creative and more mutually beneficial solutions can be explored in a safe environment.
  • Advice on hand
    The meetings are conducted with neutral collaborative lawyers who provide assistance and consider the problems from each side’s point of view.
  • Who will it suit?
    The process is only appropriate for those who are prepared to be flexible and make sacrifices to agree on an out of court settlement. It can’t be used in every case – for example where, for whatever reason, one party becomes unreasonable or is unable to do what is best for the family.

You can find out more about the collaborative law process by reading our fact sheet.


Our credentials

What the team is known for: Highly experienced at taking on financial remedy cases. Focuses on settling issues through collaboration or mediation where possible, and through litigation if necessary. Active representing guardians in public law care proceedings. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They are highly skilled and committed professionals who work incredibly hard and diligently for their clients.” “They provided an excellent service in a very straightforward and non-technical way.” Notable practitioners: Richard Ellis (Band 2) enjoys a strong reputation for his public children expertise, and is also skilled at taking on matrimonial finance cases. He is hailed by one commentator as “phenomenally good and a great advocate.” Sharon MacDonald (Band 3) frequently represents high net worth clients on alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediation and collaborative law, associated with complicated finance matters. One client reports: “She was very thorough – all the paperwork was correct down to the minutest detail. She obtained a wonderful result for me.” Jon Toogood (Eminent Practitioner) handles matrimonial finance issues in the context of divorce cases, and is a skilled arbitrator and collaborative lawyer. One client praises his “excellent technical knowledge, very good commercial awareness and very good bedside manner.” Katherine Lauder is a Recognised Practitioner.” Chambers 2017 South West

“What the team is known for: Well-known team in the Oxford market, with substantial experience in divorce and financial remedy matters involving complex assets. Also advises on public law children cases, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “A really good outfit, and universally likeable.” Notable practitioners: Mark Phillips (Band 3) is experienced advising in divorce and financial remedy matters, especially those involving complex assets such as pensions and business interests. One source says of him: “He is very intellectually able, and has a pleasant, persuasive way about him.” Head of the Oxfordshire family team Simon Bassett (Band 3) is particularly active in matrimonial finance cases. One source reports: “I’ve been really impressed with his ability to think creatively around the financial cases, and to look for solutions that aren’t obvious.”” Chambers 2017 Oxford and Surrounds

“Royds Withy King is ‘one of Bath’s leading family law firms’ for collaborative law and mediation, and department head Richard Ellis has ‘a fantastic reputation’ in care proceedings. Also recommended are Sharon MacDonald and Jon Toogood, and newly promoted senior associates Katherine Lauder and Rebecca Stevens.” Legal 500 2016 South West

“Royds Withy King’s group is led by Simon Bassett who is ‘a consistent high performer, particularly in matrimonial finance’. The ‘efficient and committed’ Anne Davies specialises in child-related work” Legal 500 2016 South East


Contact us to find out more about how we can help you agree on an out of court settlement

Sharon showed real empathy, I didn’t feel pressured and yet the outcome was fair to both parties. During a very difficult time I felt that there was someone there for me.

Reginald Rollason

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