The concept of Collaborative Law as an alternative means of dispute resolution originated in the United States and since 2004 has been successfully practised in Ireland.
The breakdown of a relationship is a difficult, stressful and emotional time. The Collaborative Law method allows the couple to reach agreement in an amicable, reasoned and creative way, without going to Court.
The corner stone of Collaborative Law is Good Faith Negotiation, based upon openness, mutual trust and full disclosure of all financial matters. Respect is given to differing opinions and agreements are reached with balanced compromise. A commitment is made that the parties will not resort to the Courts, save where an Order is necessary to implement financial terms which have been agreed. The parties remain in control.
The couple retain separate solicitors who are trained in Collaborative Law. It is the solicitors role to help the parties work through the areas of conflict. All negotiations take place through a number of four way settlement meetings that are attended by both Solicitors and their clients. The complexity of the emotional, financial and child welfare issues involved determine the number of these meetings
The primary benefit of this process it that the separating couple, with professional assistance, reach solutions that suit them as opposed to having the matter determined and imposed upon them under judicial process.
Deirdre Burke is one of the first practitioners in Ireland to be trained in this method of family law conflict resolution. She is a member of the Association of Collaborative Practitioners (Irish & International), the East Coast Collaborative Lawyers Group, and a member of South East Collaborative Family Law Solicitors.
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