At Prince Family Law we recognise that there are other options available to the court process. Lisa O’Connor is a fully trained Collaborative Lawyer and is committed to using the collaborative process to adopt a more amicable approach to a relationship breakdown and reach a negotiated settlement.

Most family disputes are resolved by the court, or by negotiations carried out via correspondence between the parties’ lawyers.

But there is another way: collaborative law.

What is collaborative Law?

Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution for divorcing couples who both want strong legal representation, but would like to avoid going to court, by reaching a negotiated settlement. Both parties agree in advance not to take matters to court, and sign an agreement to that effect.

Collaborative law is often confused with mediation, but it is quite different. In mediation the mediator does not act for either party, and cannot give advice. In the collaborative law process the parties have their lawyer with them throughout, and can seek advice at any time.

Collaborative law offers the parties the option of retaining a team of divorce professionals, which can include (but is not limited to) accredited collaborative lawyers (who are essential in this process), financial advisors to advise on the financial implications of any agreements, and family consultants, who can support the parties and their children through the emotional terrain that sometimes exists.

How does collaborative law work?

Each party appoints their own collaborative lawyer, but instead of conducting negotiations by letter or phone, both parties and their lawyers meet together, to work things out face to face. This is known as a ‘4-way meeting’.

Once agreement is reached, the lawyers can draw up a document setting out the agreement, which can then be submitted to the court for approval.

The parties will not normally need to attend court throughout the entire process.

What are the benefits of collaborative Law?

There are a number of benefits to collaborative law, including:

  • The process is not driven by a timetable imposed by the court. Thus to a large extent the process can be built around the parties’ individual timetable and priorities.
  • The process can be more successful in the long term than using the traditional court based approach, as the parties are more likely to adhere to resolutions that they have reached themselves through negotiations, rather than imposed on them by the court.
  • The collaborative process can be significantly less expensive than resolving matters through contested court proceedings.
  • As well as reducing legal costs, collaborative law can also reduce the heartache and conflict which sometimes go hand in hand with marriage breakdown. In many cases, it is not the divorce itself that does so much harm to families, but the way in which people divorce.

How can Prince Family Law help?

Lisa O’Connor is a highly experienced and resolution accredited collaborative lawyer. If you wish to discuss collaborative law please contact Lisa who will be happy to outline the procedure to you and discuss the likely costs involved.

Meet the Team

David Prince
David Prince
Managing Director / Solicitor

David founded Prince Family Law in 2005 having previously spent 17 years as a family law partner with a leading…

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Sarah Woodward
Sarah Woodward
Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Sarah has practiced family law since 1995 and trained at a large city practice. Sarah specialises in all aspects of …

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Lisa O’Connor
Lisa O’Connor
Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Lisa is a Chartered Legal Executive and Director of the firm. Lisa O’Connor joined Prince Family Law in 2008 having …

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Carey New
Carey New
Associate Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Carey has practised Family Law since 1999 and has a wealth of knowledge in all areas including financial settlements…

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Robert Gallon
Robert Gallon
Associate Director / Solicitor

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 with a Degree in Law and History and completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Skills…

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Katie Harrison
Katie Harrison
Solicitor

Katie has practised family law since qualification in 2021. Katie graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2016 with an upper second class with honours in her LLB. Katie went on to obtain a distinction in her legal practice course and won the Nelsons Part Time Stage 1 prize for best student.

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Rachel Barlow
Rachel Barlow
Associate Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Rachel has spent over 22 years practising at local Derbyshire and South Yorkshire firms and is widely recognised as an expert in all matrimonial matters

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Nathaniel Walters
Nathaniel Walters
Solicitor

Nat gained his Law Degree attending University in Leeds and subsequently attained the post-graduate Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Sheffield…

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Kelsie Thornton
Kelsie Thornton
Paralegal

Kelsie has been working in family law for the last 4 years having previously worked in a well known Doncaster firm.

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Clea Kapadia
Clea Kapadia
Solicitor Apprentice

Clea has always wanted to become a solicitor and is about to enrol on the Solicitor Apprentice Course sponsored by the Firm

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Sarah Hall
Sarah Hall
Practice Manager

Sarah Hall

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Anna Miller
Anna Miller
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Helen Fletcher
Helen Fletcher
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Rachel Lamb
Rachel Lamb
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Barrie Start
Barrie Start
Legal Cashier

Legal Cashier Barrie has worked in Chesterfield as an accounts manager for all of his working life…