Collaborative Family Law
The practice of collaborative family law is aimed at achieving lasting agreements and resolving conflict in interest-based negotiation; that is, it is about dealing with the things that matter to you, rather than what the law might see as the priorities. It is emerging now as a well-established form of family law legal practice without litigation. It is designed to keep your needs at the centre and to stay out of court. It is suitable to resolve financial settlements, arrangements for children, pre-nuptial agreements and how children and spouses are going to be maintained.
Some of the goals of collaborative practice are to:-
- Achieve resolution in a way that is respectful, transparent and open; and
- To provide the foundation for an ongoing co-parenting or working relationship.
Collaborative Practice may be the solution for resolving your family law dispute if the following objectives are important to you:-
- You want a dignified resolution that aims to resolve conflict;
- You wish to deal with the emotional aspects of your separation as much as the legal and practical ones;
- You and your partner have children and wish to ensure the resolution process includes your children’s voice, but keeps them out of the middle of conflict;
- You would like to save your financial and emotional cost, and not incur the high costs and hostility experienced with litigation and negotiation without rules of the game. You wish to retain control over decisions regarding your financial arrangements or arrangements in relation to the children, but with advice from experts;
- You do not want the decision making process taken out of your hands;
- You want your dispute and the terms of any subsequent settlement agreement to be confidential; and
- You need the assistance of a lawyer to advise you of your rights and entitlements and help you negotiate in face to face meetings.
To participate in a collaboration; both you and your former partner will engage family law lawyers who practice collaborative law. It is generally accepted that the inclusion of psychologists and financial planners on the professional family law team creates the highest standard of practice in collaboration. You will sign an agreement not to commence Court proceedings. If you do so, you will be represented in Court by alternative family law lawyers. This is something that happens only rarely. Most disputes can be resolved in 4-7 joint negotiation meetings between you, your former partner and the professional family law team.
This approach is attractive when compared to the expensive, stressful and drawn out traditional court model to resolve your family law dispute, or compared with endless, expensive negotiations between family law lawyers.