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?
Collaborative law practice is a way of helping separating couples 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.
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.
Collaborative law practice aims to reduce conflict between separating couples by negotiating an outcome in a dignified and respectful way which suits all involved.
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.
If you’d like to know more about Collaborative Law, family lawyer Franca Parolin is a trained Family Collaborative lawyer and can provide you with advice and information about the process to help you work out if the Collaborative Law process is right for you and your former partner.
This article was co-authored by Law Cadet Taylah Jensen.
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