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Experienced Family Lawyers

Collaborative Law & Mediation

When a dispute arises there are a number of options available in order to reach agreement. Traditional negotiation is one, as is proceeding to raise a court action but there are alternative methods of dispute resolution which are extremely effective and can result in the legal and practical arrangement being agreed against a background of mutual respect.

The collaborative process involves a series of meetings between you, your partner and your solicitors and is based on the principles outlined within the Participation agreement which everyone signs. The meetings can also involve financial neutrals and family therapists and can help pave the way to a respectful and civil relationship with your partner in the future.

Mediation is a process where you and your partner attempt to try and work out the issues between you whether that is involving your children or financial issues with the help of a mediator. These take place during joint or shuttle mediation sessions. The process is voluntary and confidential. At the end of the mediation, the mediator can prepare a mediation summary which can form the basis of a minute of agreement.

Our family lawyers are here to support and guide you through difficult times.

Family Law 
Frequently Asked Questions

What is family law?

Family Law is the umbrella term for legal matters relating to the family. It includes separation, divorce, child-related issues (including adoption), maintenance, division of assets and protective orders in cases of domestic violence. It also covers asset protection aspects such as Pre-Nuptial, Post-Nuptial and Cohabitation (or “Living Together”) Agreements.

Can you act for me if I’m outside Scotland?

We have clients from all parts of the UK, and across the world. The team has three dual qualified lawyers, who can advise on the law of England and Wales as well as the law of Scotland. We also have significant international experience. Our Head of Department, Philippa Cunniff, is one of only a handful of lawyers in Scotland who is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Do I need to have a ‘legal separation’?

Whether are not you are separated is a matter of fact – if you are no longer cohabiting as spouses/partners, you are separated. There is a legal process known as judicial separation, that is very rarely used. Most people talk about being ‘legally separated’ when they have a formal Separation Agreement regulating the issues arising out of their relationship breakdown.

Do I have any rights if I’m not married?

Since 2006, it has been possible for former cohabitants to make financial claims in the event of the relationship ending. Such claims are limited in scope and are subject to very strict time limits (at the time of writing, claims must be made within a year of the cohabitation ending). It is essential to seek expert advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • Anonymous

“I am tremendously grateful to you for all that you have done to get me to this point – both over the long period during which the Agreement was negotiated and at various difficult moments since then.  It is a huge relief to finally have this resolved, and your perspective and expertise have been absolutely indispensable.”

  • Pauline

“I wanted to thank you for encouraging a tasteful and diplomatic separation. It’s made a huge difference to an already difficult time.”

  • Lynn

“I just wanted to thank you for all that you have done to support Andrew and ourselves. Finally, we have the right outcome and the boys will have a more secure long term future.”

  • Anonymous

“I have always found Denise Laverty to be an exceptional lawyer… on the basis of her professional legal excellence.”

  • Family Law Testimonial

Firstly I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your support over the last few weeks. I’m aware that your first duty is to the court, but I could not have done what I needed to do recently without your calm and authoritative counsel. You gave me the freedom to make my own decisions. I’m also aware that you and your team worked extremely hard to prepare me for court at very short notice.

OUR 
Family Law Team

Phillipa Cunniff Head shot BLUE 2 L website 2

Philippa Cunniff

Partner, Head of Family Law

Denise Laverty Blue L website 3

Denise Laverty

Partner

Sally Nash Head shot BLUE 3 L website 2

Sally Nash

Partner

Our family lawyers are here to support and guide you through difficult times.

Family Law 
Frequently Asked Questions

What is family law?

Family Law is the umbrella term for legal matters relating to the family. It includes separation, divorce, child-related issues (including adoption), maintenance, division of assets and protective orders in cases of domestic violence. It also covers asset protection aspects such as Pre-Nuptial, Post-Nuptial and Cohabitation (or “Living Together”) Agreements.

Can you act for me if I’m outside Scotland?

We have clients from all parts of the UK, and across the world. The team has three dual qualified lawyers, who can advise on the law of England and Wales as well as the law of Scotland. We also have significant international experience. Our Head of Department, Philippa Cunniff, is one of only a handful of lawyers in Scotland who is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Do I need to have a ‘legal separation’?

Whether are not you are separated is a matter of fact – if you are no longer cohabiting as spouses/partners, you are separated. There is a legal process known as judicial separation, that is very rarely used. Most people talk about being ‘legally separated’ when they have a formal Separation Agreement regulating the issues arising out of their relationship breakdown.

Do I have any rights if I’m not married?

Since 2006, it has been possible for former cohabitants to make financial claims in the event of the relationship ending. Such claims are limited in scope and are subject to very strict time limits (at the time of writing, claims must be made within a year of the cohabitation ending). It is essential to seek expert advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • Anonymous

“I am tremendously grateful to you for all that you have done to get me to this point – both over the long period during which the Agreement was negotiated and at various difficult moments since then.  It is a huge relief to finally have this resolved, and your perspective and expertise have been absolutely indispensable.”

  • Pauline

“I wanted to thank you for encouraging a tasteful and diplomatic separation. It’s made a huge difference to an already difficult time.”

  • Lynn

“I just wanted to thank you for all that you have done to support Andrew and ourselves. Finally, we have the right outcome and the boys will have a more secure long term future.”

  • Anonymous

“I have always found Denise Laverty to be an exceptional lawyer… on the basis of her professional legal excellence.”

  • Family Law Testimonial

Firstly I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your support over the last few weeks. I’m aware that your first duty is to the court, but I could not have done what I needed to do recently without your calm and authoritative counsel. You gave me the freedom to make my own decisions. I’m also aware that you and your team worked extremely hard to prepare me for court at very short notice.

OUR 
Family Law Team

Phillipa Cunniff Head shot BLUE 2 L website 2

Philippa Cunniff

Partner, Head of Family Law

Denise Laverty Blue L website 3

Denise Laverty

Partner

Sally Nash Head shot BLUE 3 L website 2

Sally Nash

Partner