Collaborative Family Approach

You can deal with all issues arising on separation without going to court using a collaborative approach. That includes agreeing on arrangements for your children as well as your money, property, pensions and business interests. 

How does the collaborative approach work?

You set the agenda so you talk about the things that matter most to you and your family (it’s fairly paperless!)

You and your former partner sit down and with the help of your own collaborative solicitors all together in the same room you work it out (we talk!)

You set the pace because you are not governed by court dates (quick or slow!)

You still get the benefit of having your own independent family lawyer but you are in control without the threat of court proceedings hanging over you (less pressure!)

What does the collaborative approach need to make it work?
  • Skilled Family Solicitors who are trained in working the collaborative way
  • An agreement that you WILL reach a solution without going to Court
  • A willingness to fully and honestly disclose all relevant information
  • A genuine desire to make it work. 
How might you benefit from the collaborative approach?

The best solutions are those you own and work out for yourselves. 

If children are involved, you will both remain parents and it will help your children cope better with your separation if they see you working things out together. 

It should ease the pain of family breakdown enabling you to recover quicker and create the best chance of building a brighter future. 

How does the collaborative approach differ from Mediation?

Mediation involves you, your partner and a mediator sitting around the table to deal with the issues arising from your separation. The mediator will facilitate the discussion and agreement but remains neutral and cannot give you legal advice. You will each need to instruct your own family lawyer to advise and implement terms agreed at mediation. Collaboration enables you and your partner to each have your own collaborative lawyer with you in the room giving advice and implementing terms agreed via the collaborative process. 

How does the collaborative approach differ from the traditional approach?

Traditionally when you split you each take advice from your own solicitors who correspond with each other on your behalf to try and reach agreement but if not, it is left to the family court to decide. This often leads to uncertainty, hostility, delay and costs. 

Collaborative practice is guided by the principle of mutual respect. At the outset of the first meeting, you, your partner and each of your collaborative family lawyers sign an agreement to conduct matters respectfully and cooperatively.  Conduct and communicate are key. Your collaborative lawyers are trained to deal with matters by way of non-confrontational negotiation to help keep discussions productive and build on agreements. 

What happens if you don’t reach an agreement collaboratively?

This can happen, as it does in both mediation and traditional legal representation. Under the terms of the collaborative agreement, your collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the process and you must each instruct lawyers at another firm. This underpins the success of the process; you and your collaborative lawyers work hard to ensure a successful outcome otherwise your lawyers are disqualified from acting for you at court if the process fails. 

What if your partner does not fully disclose information?

Under the terms of the collaborative agreement your lawyer must withdraw from acting and if aware information is not being fully disclosed. 

If you do not consider that your partner will engage openly and honestly in the process and is likely to lie about his/her finances, then this process is unlikely to be a good choice for you. 

What do I need to prepare for the collaborative process?

Anchor statement

Write down why you want to deal with matters collaboratively.  Anchor statements by you, your partner and your lawyers are often shared at the outset of the first meeting.  If later on, you find discussions going “off piste” then a reminder of the reasons why you chose this process at the outset will often enable you to bring you back and keep on track. 


List the issues you wish to discuss. 

Financial Documents

Set aside financial documents currently available in preparation for discussing and agreeing the extent to which you will need to produce financial disclosure. 

What do collaborative clients say about the process

“I would have no hesitation in recommending the collaborative process to anyone who is going into separation and divorce and wants to keep things calm, fair and sensible”. 

“… excellent and sensitive collaborative work”. 

Next Step

Contact our collaborative family lawyer:

Alison Kitchman

Direct Dial:    01302 640411

Mobile:          07528 584 803


Alison can call you and your partner to explain the collaborative process and costs.  This way you can assess if you feel it will be the way forward for you both. 

For more details/a list of collaborative family lawyers visit or

Tip:    Agree each other’s choice of collaborative lawyer!  Alison can provide you with a list of collaborative family lawyers and make recommendations. 

Why Choose Alison Kitchman as your collaborative family lawyer?

We’ll let Alison explain:-

“I am passionate about helping you find the right approach to resolve your family matters. It pays to keep an open mind, explore all the available options at the outset and then choose the path that is right for you and your family. The collaborative approach is modern and intelligent way to divorce.  I find it refreshing working alongside another experienced collaborative family lawyer so that together you can get the best out of us to enable you to have a “good divorce” experience. 

I have been a special family lawyer for over 28 years.  I am always on the lookout for finding better ways of dealing with difficult situations and adopt a holistic approach.  I genuinely care about you, your overall wellbeing and that of your family.  When the collaborative approach came from America in the millennium I was one of the first resolution lawyers to train.  During the last 10 years, I have successfully collaborated in over 30 cases throughout Yorkshire and beyond. 

I have acted collaboratively for business owners, professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) and others use to handling their own affairs; those who have already had the experience of a previous bitter divorce battle through the courts and want to approach it differently this time; and couples who remain friends and wish they could both instruct the same lawyer (which you can’t due to the conflict of interests, so collaborative is the next best thing). 

I regularly work alongside other professionals who also adopt the collaborative approach including counsellors, life coaches, IFAs, family consultants, accountants and more.  If I cannot help I have a wide network to help you connect with the right person who can help”. 

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