Gillian Crandles discusses the new"happy divorce" with Kate Foster in the Mail on Sunday. This growing trend gives separating couples the option to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Husbands and wives will negotiate child custody and financial payouts at face-to-face meetings with lawyers, financial experts, child psychologists and even counsellors at the table.

This saves the time and expense of court action.Those behind the move say it will make divorce quicker and thousands of pounds cheaper.

But family campaigners warned it would trivialise marriage. Around one in three Scottish marriages now ends, with around 10,000 breaking up each year. The new scheme was first launched in the US in a backlash against expensive legal divorce battles.

Gillian Crandles said up to one in ten of her cases are now signing up to the scheme.

"Most people get divorced because that's the only thing left to do, so the process should be as least harmful as possible.

"With a collaborative divorce, the couple agree from the beginning they will not go to court, so you don't have posturing against each other or that high-octane environment.

"The details are arranged through a series of around seven meetings with lawyers. The onus is on the client to make their own decisions about how their family is going to function after the divorce – because it's their marriage, their children.

"The lawyers just provide a framework for constructive discussion.

"It can be challenging because the couple are in the room together. Everyone has to be in the right frame of mind.

"Things can be dealt with in a more positive manner round a table, letting people walk away with their dignity intact. If there is all-out war, a court has to resolve everything and regulate all matters."

Gillian was instrumental in introducing Collaborative Law to Scotland and is a founder member and immediate past Secretary of the Scottish Collaborative Family Law Group. If you require advice on matters relating to this article, please contact us via our quick contact form.