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Furley Page launch collaborative divorce service in west Kent with associate Susi Gillespie operating from Chatham base

06 February 2014
by Chris Price

Furley Page associate Susi Gillespie

Furley Page associate Susi Gillespie

Divorce is being made less painful for people across Kent as a law firm makes its collaborative service available countywide.

Furley Page associate Susi Gillespie, who is based at Chatham, will now begin offering the legal process to separating couples in west Kent.

She joins partner Anne Blenkinsop, who offers the service in the east from the Canterbury office.

Collaborative law sees couples each appoint their own solicitor, with the spouses and their counsel then attending face-to-face meetings, with a commitment to reach an agreement without going to court.

The service has grown through encouragement from the judiciary and family lawyers’ organisation Resolution, a body of 5,700 lawyers who believe in a constructive non-confrontational approach to family law matters.

While court proceedings last about 18 months, the collaborative process is usually completed in six.

Mrs Gillespie said: “It’s tailored to suit the spouses’ needs and there is far less paperwork than the adversarial approach.

“Meetings can be arranged at short notice and all issues relating to the divorce can be discussed direct with the other spouse and your respective lawyers producing quicker, more effective agreements being reached.

“Non-lawyer experts such as independent financial advisers, accountants and counsellors can be brought into meetings to help resolve issues.

“Decisions about the parties’ children, their assets, income and future needs are decided by them, not a judge.

“Costs can be managed and even fixed where appropriate, in a way that cannot be catered for in court proceedings. The eventual agreement becomes a binding court order.”

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