Resolution Together is a unique method of working through family-related issues, where former partners collaborate with a single solicitor to reach an agreement. The process prioritises the best interests of the family, providing joint legal advice and assistance. This article breaks down how Resolution Together works in practice, what it can and cannot do, and addresses common questions.
How Resolution Together works:
- Initial confidential meetings:
- Each person meets with the solicitor individually to discuss their situation confidentially.
- Suitability for Resolution Together is assessed based on the circumstances.
- Joint meetings:
- If suitable and everyone is happy to proceed, a joint meeting is arranged for partners to share financial information.
- Legal advice is provided, outlining potential court approaches and options.
- The couple then explore issues further to work towards reaching an agreement with the benefit of the joint legal advice they have received within meeting.
- If necessary or helpful, other professionals can be brought into the joint meetings to provide specialist financial or pensions advice or to help support individuals through the process.
- Agreement and documentation:
- Upon reaching an agreement, relevant paperwork is prepared by the solicitor for court submission.
What Resolution Together can do:
- Provide joint legal advice on how the law applies to the situation.
- Explore potential options for reaching an agreement.
- Suggest other professionals for additional assistance.
- Highlight where there is the need for input from specialists, such as in taxation or pensions.
- Assist in helping couples reach an agreement based on what they consider if best for their own circumstances.
- Move at whatever pace the couple agree to.
What Resolution Together can’t do:
- Offer individual advice outside joint meetings.
- Keep information confidential from the partner once the Resolution Together agreement is signed.
- Make decisions or negotiate on behalf of the individuals.
Frequently asked questions:
- What if we have already reached an agreement, but need help as to where to go now?
- Financial disclosure is necessary to ensure the court would approve any agreement.
- Advice can be provided as to whether any agreement reached would be considered fair by the Court.
- The solicitor can draft the relevant Court paperwork on behalf of you both.
- Is this process only for those who already have an agreement?
- In short, no, but each party does need to be willing to listen to the advice given and the views of their partner to be best placed to reach an agreement. The process is unlikely to be successful if someone already has an entrenched view about what should happen and is not willing to consider alternatives.
- What is the difference between Resolution Together and mediation?
- Resolution Together involves joint meetings in the same way as mediation, but in mediation advice cannot be given and individuals are told to take separate advice from a lawyer outside of the mediation process.
- A mediator is generally not able to draft the Court paperwork to finalise any agreement reached in mediation whereas a Resolution Together practitioner can.
- What if I am worried about whether my partner will be up front and honest about their finances?
- Full honesty is crucial; Resolution Together relies on transparency. If there are serious concerns about non-disclosure of assets this might not be the right process for you.
- What if I want to take a second opinion?
- Individuals can seek a second opinion from another solicitor at any time.
- What if we disagree?
- If partners disagree, a mediator or a barrister may be considered to assist, but many areas of disagreement can be overcome through further discussions within the process.
- Legal advice guides the discussion, but the final decision rests with the individuals.
- What if we change our minds or either or both of us want to end the process?
- Either party can end the process; discussions are confidential unless both parties agree otherwise.
Resolution Together provides a cooperative and confidential avenue for resolving family matters, emphasising transparency and joint decision-making. While it may not suit every situation, it offers an alternative approach to traditional legal processes, promoting understanding and agreement between former partners.
Melanie Pilmer is a Partner in our Family team, a Resolution Together practitioner as well as being a collaborative lawyer and member of Resolution. To find out more about Resolution Together and to view our services, please visit our website.