You can’t always choose whether or not you want to separate or divorce, but you can choose how well or badly you do it
Separation, divorce and other family law matters are for most people difficult, unfamiliar and challenging.
In common with all difficult journeys, things will proceed more productively, when the route to be followed has been well thought out and planned in advance.
I will encourage you to carefully consider the route to be taken for your family, rather than simply focusing on the outcome.
That is not to suggest for a moment that the outcome is unimportant, rather we have a much better chance of getting to the end as smoothly as possible if we plan carefully in advance.
Part of my role is to provide practical advice and guidance about the different process choices that are available to your family as you negotiate your way from being a family that lives all together to becoming a family that lives apart.
In this process the separating couples sign an agreement not to go to Court and work together, with their lawyers and other professionals such as family therapists and financial neutrals in a team approach towards reaching a mutual agreement in a series of facilitated, non-tactical meetings that focus on the family’s needs. All negotiations are face to face with clients present. Minutes are prepared by the lawyers following face to face meetings and these form a record of the meetings. All professionals ( including the lawyers) are working towards achieving a good outcome for you and your family.
I am a collaborative lawyer and in fact introduced this process to Scotland. I was also one of the lawyers involved in Scotland’s first collaborative case. Since then, I have conducted many of my cases collaboratively and actively encourage this process.
Mediation uses a neutral professionally trained mediator to facilitate settlement discussions between the parties. It may involve just the separating couple and the mediator or alternatively it can be a 4 way process where there are two mediators this is known as a “co- mediation”
I am a CALM accredited mediator.
In this process the negotiating is left to the lawyers, usually done in the client’s absence. Some people are not able to negotiate with the other party nor do they wish to be in the same room or even the same building while negotiations are occurring. Clients meet privately with their lawyers in this process and the lawyers check in with the clients to keep them informed of the negotiation
Similar to court, if clients are unable to reach an agreement they can choose to appoint an arbitrator (private judge) to make a decision for them. This process is private and clients have the advantage of choosing their arbitrator. I am an accredited FLAGS arbitrator (private Judge) and have both been appointed as an arbitrator and have prepared cases for arbitration. I would actively encourage Arbitration over court as you can choose who is going to decide your case and your case will not be subject to delays as is often the case with court.
Where clients are unable to reach agreement the court resolves the matter and decides what will happen. I have been appearing in the Sheriff Court for the past 26 years. I also have extensive Court of Session experience and have been the lead partner in some of the highest value, legally complex family law cases in Scotland.
Family Law DIY
Some clients prefer to sit at the kitchen table with their partner or spouse and try to work things out for themselves. This can achieve a good outcome. Where you may need support is having your agreement checked to ensure it is fair and for a legally binding written agreement to be drafted and entered into. I am happy to provide legal support and advice in the background and assist you in your negotiations.
I can also assist you with completing divorce forms once you have entered into an agreement.
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in family law
Accredited CALM mediator
Trained Collaborative Lawyer
Member family law association
Legal 500 ranked
Member international academy of Collaborative professionals
Fellow of the international academy of family lawyers
Positions held :
Co – editor Family Law Bulletin
Treasurer and former chair of Consensus Collaboration Scotland Secretary of the European Network of Collaborative Professionals
Former board member and secretary of the international academy of Collaborative professionals
Former board member Relationships Scotland