Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution offering separated couples another way to resolve family law disputes outside of court. Collaborative lawyers are qualified lawyers with training and experience in dispute resolution and facilitation processes.
Although collaborative law can be used for a range of legal matters, it is particularly suited for family law. The process can preserve the parties’ relationship which is beneficial when parents are to have ongoing contact regarding the welfare of their children. The quick resolution of property matters can help avoid depleting the parties’ asset pool through costly court proceedings.
We specialise in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Andrew Corish is a collaboratively trained lawyer and accredited in collaborative resolution of family law disputes.
We provide legal advocacy, advice, and support throughout the collaborative law process to assist you and your ex-partner successfully resolve your family dispute and achieve a mutually negotiated settlement.
The Collaborative Law Process
Collaborative law involves you and your ex-partner working together with your respective lawyers in a non-adversarial way, to conduct confidential and transparent negotiations to resolve the matter without resorting to litigation.
Several joint four-way meetings are conducted to facilitate open discussions on issues like child support, parenting arrangements, finances, and property. The aim is to resolve matters with minimal conflict and reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the children and the family.
- The initial meeting involves listening to your situation and discussing all available options, including traditional litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods, to determine your suitability for collaboration. It’s up to you to decide which process works best for you and your family.
- If collaborative law is suitable and you and your partner agree to collaboration, all parties enter a binding agreement that states:
- the lawyers’ objectives to help you and your partner reach a negotiated agreement that meets the needs of you and your family;
- neither party will threaten litigation or commence court proceedings; and
- neither lawyer will continue to represent you or your partner should collaborative negotiations break down.
- Negotiation is conducted, and legal advice and support is given in an open forum within the joint four-way meetings, minimising miscommunication and enabling transparency throughout the process.
- You and your partner have the benefit of hearing the advice given by each lawyer and making informed decisions in the resolution of your family dispute.
Benefits of Collaborative Law
- Clients and their lawyers ‘steer’ the matter rather than having directions and hearing dates set by a court. This can reduce costs and delay, and the emotional stress and anxiety associated with court proceedings.
- As the parties have more control over how their matter progresses, settlements may be reached which are less restrictive and more flexible than what might be ordered by a court.
- Collaborative law is non-adversarial – negotiations are conducted directly between the parties and their lawyers rather than lawyer to lawyer. This can help preserve the parties’ relationship.
- The collaborative process is not governed by the usual legal formalities, avoiding the need to prepare costly legal documentation that would otherwise need to comply with strict rules of evidence.
When Collaborative Law may not Work
Collaborative law is open to all family matters, however may not be suitable if one or both parties are antagonistic, violent, have drug or alcohol issues, or have psychological disorders. Safety issues and significant trust concerns will also be a barrier to effective negotiations.
The parties must be fully committed and not see the collaborative approach as a way around disclosure obligations.
As your collaboratively trained lawyer, we will advocate on your behalf to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement that is tailored to the needs of you and your family in an efficent and cost-effective manner.
If you need any assistance, contact one of our North Sydney family lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 8075 0141 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert family law advice.