The singer Ronan Keating and his wife recently announced on Twitter that they will be separating after 14 years of marriage. Two years ago Ronan Keating announced he had had an affair and the couple have two children together. Ronan Keating has been quoted as saying his wife and he "love and care for each other and want to protect our kids".
When a marriage breaks down the couple must decide not only whether they intend to get divorced but what process they will use to do it. As well as the traditional negotiation and court litigation processes there is also mediation and the collaborative process. You do not have to litigate with your ex through expensive and lengthy court proceedings to successfully and legally formalise your separation and the right financial settlement.
Collaboration involves both spouses signing an Agreement to work out their differences respectfully, face to face and without making an application to the Court. Once the client and lawyer enter the collaborative process, if the process breaks down without resolution, the lawyers must be disinstructed, and the clients must instruct new lawyers and they cannot take any of their collaborative file with them to the new lawyers because all discussions are "without prejudice". This caveat is what ties clients and the lawyers to work as hard as they can to ensure that an agreement can be reached about division of financial matters, arrangements for children and regarding the details of the divorce process itself.
To collaborate spouses must be able to face each other across the table and be able to talk to each other amicably. At the heart of the collaborative process is the well being of the children of the family,all decisions taken will be done so with the best interests of the children in mind.
It is possible to get divorced respectfully and protect the children of the family. The collaborative process offers this possibility because the clients lead the process and have a voice whilst the lawyers provide support, legal advice and structure along the way. The solutions reached will be far more creative and flexible than any Order a Court can make, the legal costs will be far less and the parties can set their own timetable.
Other celebrities including Robin Williams and Madonna have used the collaborative process to formalise the end of their marriage. It is unlikely many people will be aware of this because their divorces were conducted privately, away from the media unlike other high profile divorces which have taken place very publicly and acrimonously through the Courts.
If Ronan Keating and his wife wish to protect their children and remain on good terms with each other they may find the collaborative process is the right option for them, and if they do the public and media will probably know nothing about it.
If you would like to know more about the collaborative process please contact Vanessa Cozens on 01491 570900 or at email@example.com for a free initial appointment, weekdays or Saturday mornings at our Henley office. I am a family solicitor and Partner at The Head Partnership Solicitors with offices in Reading and Hneley on Thames.
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