Family breakdown and why Collaborative Law could be the Best Option
What is collaborative practice in family law?
Collaborative practice is an alternative dispute resolution process where lawyers and their clients enter into an agreement to negotiate a resolution of disputes arising out of a family breakdown without commencing legal proceedings.
Collaborative practice is suitable for parties wishing to resolve parenting, property and financial matters in good faith and with a child-focused approach.
What is the process?
The collaborative process will commence once both parties have voluntarily agreed to participate in the negotiation. Both parties must be represented by a collaboratively trained lawyer. The process is conducted in a “four way” face to face meeting with both parties and their lawyers cooperating as a team. No correspondence is passed between the parties and instead negotiations are conducted by way of a series of meetings.
Both parties and their legal representatives will need to sign a ‘Participation Agreement’ that outlines the ground rules for the collaborative process. One of the main principles of collaborative law is that both parties agree to avoid court.
Once the matter has settled, the parties and their lawyers will sign a legally binding contract signifying that an agreement has been reached.
What are the benefits of the collaborative process?
• Collaborative law allows the parties to take charge of the settlement process by resolving issues in a manner that accommodates their family best.
• It is an open, honest and flexible process.
• It is more cost-effective than going to court.
• It encourages the preservation of family relationships, communication and co-parenting.
• The issues arising from your family breakdown will be resolved faster than going to court.
• All forms of communication are strictly confidential.
When is collaborative law inappropriate?
• When one of the parties possess manipulative or dominating behavioural traits that impedes an imbalance of power in the relationship.
• In situations of family violence or child abuse.
• In circumstances where one or both of the parties suffer from a mental illness, drug addiction or substance abuse.
Simone Thomas or Rachael Abercrombie are trained collaboratively family law solicitors. Please contact Simone or Rachael to discuss what course is best for you and your family.