In a traditional divorce model separating partners face off against the other with the mindset that both individuals are fighting it out in order to preserve their own interests. Emotions run high and as a lawyer it can be easy to let your client’s emotions govern the process. Whilst not uncommon, taking the ‘warfare’ approach is usually short-sighted and detrimental for all involved. We don’t work that way. We will tell you the tough stuff up front. You won’t always get what you want out of this but if you do it collaboratively, you will be far better off.
The collaborative law process is a refreshing approach to resolving legal issues that arise from a relationship breakdown without involving the Court. In a collaborative divorce, each party is represented by their own collaboratively trained lawyer and each party enters into a written agreement, making the commitment to resolve their issues without going to Court. It says a lot about a person who wants to resolve their separation this way.
Lawyers, while representing their individual clients, have a duty to assist the family as a whole to achieve the best possible outcome. Jointly retained neutral experts can be called into the process to reduce conflict opportunities and support the parties.
So could a collaborative divorce be for you? Here’s 4 reasons why it should be:
1) Maintaining a friendly and amicable relationship with your ex important to you
With a traditional divorce, it’s not uncommon for separating parties to feel that throughout the court process they are being pitted against one another as enemies in battle. This mentality can make it difficult to form a positive post-divorce relationship. Maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex is so important, especially where children are involved as you may find yourself communicating with them on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. The nature of these communications can have either a positive or negative effect on the children. Doing it this way won’t be easy but it gives you the best chance of avoiding irreparable damage to your relationship.
2) You want a solution that is all about You (and your ex)
When it comes to your separation, you want a solution that is all about you – your specific values, needs and concerns, and those of your former spouse. You want to have control of important decisions rather than leaving it up to a Judge who doesn’t know you or your family. By engaging in the collaborative process, you can stay in control of your decisions and out of court.
3) You want to be supported through the process
You are keen to ensure that yourself and your former spouse have professional support in place to help you to make the right decisions about how you are going to separate. Collaborative practice connects separating parties and their lawyers with specially trained experts such as financial professionals and child consultants to assist separating parties. It can help you manage the many aspects of divorce and separation, including legal concerns, considerations for the children and financial and property questions.
4) You want complete financial transparency
In a traditional divorce, coming to an agreement around the division of property and assets can be a a high conflict and emotional affair. In a collaborative divorce, a neutral financial specialist can support the parties through the process, helping to gather and explain financial information and assisting the parties to reach a financial settlement that is fair for both sides and allows each to feel good about the outcome.
Although your marriage may be over, divorce doesn’t have to end your relationship entirely. The way you handle your divorce will impact you, your ex, and most importantly your children, for many years to come.
If you’re interested in finding a better way to break up and would like more information on Collaborative Practice, please contact our office on 02 8604 4099 or arrange an initial appointment with Andrew using our online booking tool.