Andrew is a qualified Collaborative Practitioner and a member of the NSW Association of Collaborative Practitioners.
Collaborative Practice is different from the traditional adversarial approach to family law. In the collaborative process, clients and their lawyers agree to work together to find a solution and promise not to resort to court. It is a bespoke practice that involves openness and transparency.
Collaborative law has been practiced in Australia for the last decade or so. It is now rapidly expanding in NSW.
How does Collaborative Practice work?
First, we need to assess whether the collaborative process is suitable for you and your partner. It is not suitable for everyone. There needs to be a level of respect and trust and a willingness to think outside the box.
You and your former partner will both need to agree to use the collaborative process. Both of you need to engage lawyers who are trained in collaborative law. We can provide your former partner with details of other collaboratively trained lawyers to assist in getting your case started.
To start the process, you, your former partner and both lawyers will all sign a Participation Agreement setting out the ground rules for the collaborative process. This Agreement will also disqualify the lawyers from continuing to represent their client if either party commences court proceedings.
The foundation of the collaborative process is an understanding that you, your former partner and your lawyers, will act in good faith. You will be open and honest in your dealings with one another. Also, you will respect the fact that different views will need to be expressed to achieve a fair settlement.
Most of the process is carried out at “five-way” face-to-face meetings between you, your partner, the lawyers and a collaborative coach. These meetings are usually 2 hours long and ideally spaced about 3-4 weeks apart. This enables everyone to digest each step and move through the process at the same pace.
The average life of a collaborative process would normally span 4-5 meetings. If warranted some other professional person or financial neutral can be involved. A psychologist, accountant or financial planner maybe engaged to help the parties understand a particular aspect of the situation.
Why can't we go to court?
One of the cornerstones of collaborative law is that parties agree not to go to court. Therefore, the threat of going to court cannot be used as a means of coercing the other party to agree or accept a position.
Is Collaborative Practice right for me?
Discuss this with us. We can use our experience to assess whether it is right for you. If you want to resolve your family law issues in a respectful and dignified manner, where you retain control of your decisions then it may be right for you.
Separation is a stressful and highly emotional time. If you and your ex-partner are having difficulties coming up with workable options for yourselves and your children, mediation can be a great option
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process whereby an independent person known as a Mediator assists the parties to identify and assess their options. Through negotiation, a settlement of their dispute without court intervention occurs.
Mediation is a great option if you and your ex-partner are having difficulties. This process determines workable options for yourselves and your children. A mediator can help you get to the bottom of the issues that are sometimes stopping you from communicating effectively.
This option is generally cheaper and quicker than having a judge decide your case for you. Your agreements can still be filed with the Court and made binding.
A benefit of mediation is that you are more likely to stick to an agreement that you came up with rather than a decision that was made for you.