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The Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) is an interest-based approach to negotiations dealing with matrimonial disputes. It is a time and cost-effective legal process which seeks to assist couples in reaching an agreement and thereabout avoiding the social, economic and emotional strains of traditional divorce litigation.

Features of the CFP

  • The process of CFP involves specially-trained CFP lawyers and other family specialists who help assist the parties negotiate agreements that are targeted to the needs of their family
  • CFP lawyers are not allowed to represent their clients in future litigation if settlement is not reached. This incentivises parties and lawyers to settle all disputes
  • CFP allows parties to maintain a civil relationship with each other following the divorce
  • The process of CFP is strictly without prejudice
  • CFP can be cheaper and more expedient than going to court.

How does the CFP work?

The process of CFP is intended to facilitate an open and honest exchange of information to work towards achieving the most beneficial outcome for both parties. The process in which it takes place are as follows:

  • Both parties will engage a collaboratively-trained family lawyer accredited by the Singapore Mediation centre
  • At the initial meeting, each party’s lawyer will assess the suitability of the collaborative process in their circumstances
  • Upon accessing that the circumstances are suitable, both parties and their respective lawyers will make an agreement to not bring the matter to Court
  • Parties will then make full and frank disclosure of any required information
  • The collaborative process is confidential and thus the terms of the settlement remain strictly between parties. All discussions and documents exchanged are legally privileged and conducted on a without prejudice basis
  • Bulk of the negotiation will take place face-to-face, involving both parties and their respective lawyers
  • The lawyers on both sides will refrain from correspondence aside from the exchange of minutes of meetings and discussion points for future meetings
  • Upon settlement, the lawyers will then draw up a settlement agreement to be filed in the Court as a draft consent order for approval.
  • The Courts will then approve the terms and issue a Court Order.

Raphael Louis (Ray) is a certified Corroborative Family Practice lawyer with the Singapore Medication Centre.