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Everyone has heard war stories about someone else’s divorce or they have their own particular story about their separation.  Often the story involves a bitter, drawn out court dispute that has left both parties emotionally stressed, financially impacted upon and left them wondering – could there have been a better way to resolve our problem?

The answer is yes.

Collaborative law practice is a way of helping separating couples and families resolve their family breakdown in a less stressful and cost effective way.  The collaborative process involves a separated couple and their lawyers working together to create solutions to their family law problems without going to court or threatening court action.  One of the most stressful factors in a family law dispute can be the court process.  Outcomes are never certain and the parties can lose control of the timelines involved.  The costs of obtaining evidence including reports, issuing Subpoenas and complying with directions that the court has made involve correspondence and ongoing legal fees.

The collaborative law practice process involves a separating couple instructing lawyers that have undertaken training in collaborative law practice.  Not all lawyers have undertaken this training.  The collaborative law model enables a separating couple to retain control of their decision making and the process involved.  Their situation is not determined by a judge.  The separating couple work on achieving their own outcomes.  The negotiations concentrate on working towards a positive future and avoiding blame and revisiting a negative past.

The separating couple and their collaborative lawyers can choose to involve other professionals in helping achieve a solution to their situation including financial planners, accountants and valuers, child specialists and counsellors.  The separating couple works on their own unique solution to their own family.

Collaborative law practice aims to reduce conflict between separating couples by negotiating an outcome in a dignified and respectful way which suits all involved.  Using this approach, enables the separating couple to lead a more civil relationship after the separation which is very important when children are involved and ongoing positive parental communication is necessary to parent their children into the future.

The parties and their lawyers sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement which is a contract and legally binding.  The contract sets out the rules of engagement for the lawyers and the parties involved.  The process is confidential, private and works towards achieving a fair outcome for all concerned.  Granted, this process is not for everyone, particularly if court proceedings have already been commenced.

Are you interested in finding out more?  Call Franca Parolin, Senior Associate at Kells on 4295 8400.