Divorce proceedings often prove to be intricate and costly, frequently accompanied by significant disputes. The importance of choosing the right lawyer has grown, especially with the recent updates to the divorce laws in the UK, which has in turn led to a renewed focus on ways to resolve the issues arising from divorce.

These changes now allow separating partners to be represented in divorce using a single lawyer, a method referred to as the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach or ‘joint representation’. This innovative strategy aims to streamline the process, reducing both animosity and expense.

In today’s fast-evolving legal landscape, the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach is redefining the way divorce proceedings and the separation of joint finances are conducted. This innovative framework aims to reduce animosity, streamline the process, and decrease the financial burden on separating couples by allowing one solicitor to represent both parties.

Siân McKernon

Siân McKernon

Solicitor | Family

023 8008 2453

What is the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach in divorce?

The ‘one couple, one lawyer’ model aims to streamline the process by representing both parties with a single lawyer, thereby reducing animosity. This method is endorsed by the prominent family law network, Resolution, as part of their ‘Resolution Together’ initiative, which supports a simplified and less confrontational process.

This was incorporated after April 2022, when UK divorce legislation underwent significant changes with the enactment of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. These reforms aimed to update the divorce process, largely by eliminating the requirement to place blame for the breakdown of the marriage in the divorce application, thus introducing the concept of ‘no fault divorce‘ to reduce unnecessary animosity. As a result, innovative ways to resolve financial matters and arrangements for the children are being considered more often.

What does the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach to divorce involve?

The ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach signifies that a single lawyer represents both parties. This legal representative is responsible for guiding the couple through the entire process, including guidance on filing the divorce application, and advising on the separation of financial assets and child custody arrangements.

The evolution of collaborative divorce

Historically, the process has been marked by disputes and escalating legal fees. However, with the introduction of the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach, there’s a significant shift towards more amicable resolutions. By fostering a collaborative environment, this method emphasises mutual respect and collective goal setting, steering clear of adversarial tactics.

Key benefits of joint divorce representation

  • Simplified legal process: Using a single solicitor helps eliminate the necessity for repeated communications between opposing solicitors, thereby simplifying the process.
  • Cost efficiency: Couples share the cost of one solicitor rather than hiring two, making higher-quality legal services more accessible and economical.
  • Saving time: Typically, the process can take over a year, but the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ process can be completed in less time, during which you will receive tailored, expert advice. Lengthy negotiations over finances or child arrangements can strain communication between a couple, making it difficult to remain open and make necessary compromises. Our goal is to facilitate constructive negotiations in a more efficient timeframe, helping you maintain direct communication and reach amicable agreements.
  • Reduced conflict: By working with a joint solicitor, couples can avoid the unnecessary adversarial setup, reducing emotional stress and promoting amicable resolutions.

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Is ‘one couple, one lawyer’ right for you?

While the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ model offers numerous benefits, it is not suitable for everyone. It works best for couples who can maintain a functional level of communication. In cases involving domestic abuse or deep-seated animosity, individual representation would still be necessary.

How the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach works

At the core of this approach is the concept of neutrality. The solicitor acts as a neutral advisor to the couple, providing legal advice without bias. This method not only expedites the process but also fosters a spirit of fairness and cooperation.

During initial consultations, the couple have the opportunity to express their priorities and concerns. The solicitor then guides the couple through all legal aspects of their separation, including financial arrangements and parenting responsibilities, if applicable. This collaborative effort often leads to solutions that are agreeable to both parties, thereby minimising the emotional and financial costs associated with a more contentious process.

Choosing the right solicitor

Selecting a solicitor who is experienced in collaborative law and committed to your mutual interests is critical. Look for professionals who are accredited by family law networks and who prioritise clear, empathetic communication.

It is vital that the solicitor you choose is someone both parties feel comfortable with. This comfort can significantly impact the efficacy of the collaborative process. At Moore Barlow, our solicitors are trained to handle sensitive situations with discretion and respect, ensuring that all discussions are conducted in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.

Our approach at Moore Barlow

At Moore Barlow, we understand the complexities of divorce and the issues arising from it and are dedicated to supporting our clients through every step. Our approach is built on trust and transparency, ensuring that the couple feel respected and heard. Our team is trained in collaborative practices and is here to guide you towards achieving the best possible outcomes for your family’s future.

We believe that the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ model, while not universally applicable, can be a transformative experience for many couples. By promoting dialogue and understanding, we help you navigate this challenging time in a constructive way and lay the groundwork for a positive post-divorce, and co-parenting, relationship.

Get in touch

To explore whether the ‘one couple, one lawyer’ approach is suitable for your situation, contact Moore Barlow solicitors for a personalised consultation. Our goal is to help you navigate this challenging time in a constructive way and to lay the groundwork for a positive post-divorce, and co-parenting, relationship.

If you would like to discuss this innovative approach further or have any other family law enquiries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Moore Barlow. We are here to support you with expert advice tailored to your unique circumstances.

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