Anger and resentment do not necessarily have to be the by-products of a dissolution of a working relationship. Through the use of collaborative law, all parties can sit down with each other and with professional supporters to reach a settlement that works for them and their needs.
At Employer Work Place Law, we believe that collaborative law offers employers and employees a brighter future than they would have after a litigated dissolution. The collaborative process gives the parties involved control of their own future, rather than leaving it to a judge. The process emphasises respect and cooperation instead of argument and conflict. It gives those involved the means to resolve differences by working together instead of fighting against each other.
Understanding the Collaborative Law Process
Each party involved will have their own collaborative lawyer by their side throughout the entire process and, therefore, will benefit from legal advice as the process goes on. The aim of collaborative law is to resolve workplace disputes without going to Court.
Once each person has met their collaborative lawyers and discussed the different options and processes available, they decide if the collaborative process is for them. If it is, then they both meet their collaborative lawyers separately to talk about what to expect. These meetings are referred to as “four way” meetings, as they are meetings between both individuals and their respective collaborative lawyers.
At the first “four way” meeting, the collaborative lawyers will make sure that all parties understands that they are making a commitment to working at an agreement without going to Court and that they will all four sign an agreement to this effect. All involved will be invited to share their own objectives in choosing this process and everyone will plan the agenda for the next meeting. This will depend on individual circumstances, but it might typically include a discussion about how you are responding to the situation. If time permits, we may also go on to discuss how financial information will be shared and agree on who will bring that financial information to the next meeting.
Subsequent meetings will deal with the priorities and concerns. For instance, the meetings may look at involving other professionals such as specialists in pensions and financial planning, or people trained to assist in understanding and coping with changes that the situation will bring to their lives. The meetings will enable everyone involved to reach an agreement on how the finances will be allocated and what arrangements need to be made.
At the final meeting, documents detailing the agreement reached will be signed by the employer and employee and their collaborative lawyers. The collaborative lawyers will talk with all parties about anything else that needs to be done in order to implement the agreement. Sometimes a firm timetable for implementation will not be possible.
One of the benefits of the collaborative process is that it is not driven by a timetable imposed by the Court. So to a large extent, the process can be built around a employers individual timetable and priorities.