Collaborative Divorce (Collaborative Family Practice) is a dispute resolution process new to Singapore. It is a legal process whereby couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage, can avoid the lengthy and costly process of a contested divorce through negotiation.
The goal of the collaborative family process is to help couples to work successfully within the Collaborative Law Structure to achieve a positive outcome for both parties whilst trying to avoid the social, emotional and economic strain a traditional divorce process can have.
A Collaborative Divorce is a voluntary, client-centred process, whereby each party engages their own Singapore Dispute resolution Centre-accredited lawyers who work together towards achieving an amicable result for their clients.
Ms. Gloria James is amongst the first batch of lawyers in Singapore to receive such accreditation. The lawyers act to facilitate the negotiation between the spouses, giving couples greater control over the entire process and, more importantly, over their decisions.
Importantly, Collaborative Divorce is founded on three principles:
- A pledge not to litigate in Court.
- An openly honest and voluntary approach to the exchange of information.
- A commitment to work towards solutions that take into account the highest priorities of both parties and their children.
The collaborative Divorce process can be used to address all of the issues addressed under the traditional divorce process, such as:
- Child custody care and control, child access
- Spousal and child maintenance
- Division of matrimonial assets
Besides divorce, the collaborative process can also be used in other family law matters such as annulment, legal separation, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.
How does the Collaborative Divorce process work?
- Both you and your spouse will engage a collaboratively-trained family lawyer who has been accredited by the Singapore Mediation Centre.
- In your initial meeting with your lawyer, your lawyer will discuss whether the collaborative process is suitable for your circumstances.
- Both parties and your respective lawyers will undertake and make an agreement not to go to Court. This removes the threat of litigation, which can often overshadow and be counterproductive to negotiations.
- Parties must also make full and frank disclosure of any required information, ensuring a more open and cooperative environment in which the parties can work through the issues at hand. TRUST is of outmost importance here.
- The collaborative process is confidential meaning the terms of your settlement will not be public. All discussions and documents are legally privileged and conducted on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning they cannot later be used in Court proceedings should no settlement be reached, with the exception of financial disclosures.
- Most of the negotiations will take place at face-to-face 4 way meetings involving you, your partner and your respective lawyers. This allows you and your spouse to be in control of the negotiations and reduces misunderstandings.
- Correspondence between your lawyers is kept to a minimum apart from the exchange of meeting minutes and discussion points for future meetings.
- Once settlement has been reached, your lawyers will draw up a settlement agreement which will be filed in the Court as a draft consent order for approval. The Court will seal the terms and turn them into a Court Order.
For a more in-depth look at how the Collaborative Divorce process works, Click here to see if the Collaborative Divorce process is right for you.
Gloria james Civetta & Co “When Experience and Results Matter”