‘Cheaper, faster, less stressful’ way to settle divorce matters

Published: 7:35 PM, July 10, 2013
Updated: 12:20 PM, July 11, 2013

SINGAPORE — Divorcing couples can now choose to settle, without heading to court, matters such as the division of their matrimonial assets, maintenance payments and custody of their children.

Previously, these ancillary matters had to be settled before a judge in court. But under the new Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) service, estranged couples will hire lawyers trained in this area to strike a settlement, which then the Family Court will only need to record.

Only when they fail to resolve the issues will they go through the usual process.

This makes for a “cheaper, faster and less stressful” process, said the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC), which will be supported by the Subordinate Courts and the Law Society.

Seventeen family lawyers will be trained in CFP over these two days by Ms Catherine Gale, a “very experienced collaborative lawyer” from Australia, before being appointed to SMC’s panel of CFP lawyers.

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia already use CFP and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) has been set up to promote the practice of collaborative law internationally.

A recent IACP survey reported that 90 per cent of cases using the collaborative process resulted in settlement.