What is Collaborative Family Law?
Collaborative Family Law is a non-contentious, non-litigious approach to resolving the issues that arise out of a relationship break down. In a collaborative process, the client and their Lawyers work together to find a solution to the issues that need to be addressed, whether financial or child related, without involving the Court.
The collaborative approach permits greater co-operation between a range of professionals involved in helping families. For example, child specialists, counsellors and financial advisers can all participate in the process with the Lawyers and their clients.
How does Collaborative Family Law work?
You and your partner will each retain a Family Lawyer trained in Collaborative Law to advise you throughout the process. You, your partner and both Lawyers sign a Participation Agreement. This sets out the ground rules for the collaborative process and importantly, provides that if either client commences Court proceedings, both collaborative Lawyers are disqualified from representing either client.
For the collaborative process to be successful, it is expected that both parties will act in good faith, be open and honest in dealings with one another and respect the fact that different views will need to be expressed to achieve a fair settlement. These premises are embodied in the Participation Agreement.
Collaborative Family Law is conducted by way of a series of “4 way” meetings. These are round table meetings with you, your partner and the Lawyers. Unlike the traditional settlement negotiation process, where a great deal of correspondence passes back and forth between Lawyers, in Collaborative Family Law correspondence is kept to a minimum. By being present throughout the negotiations, you and your partner retain control and the scope for misunderstanding is reduced.
Once a settlement is reached, the Lawyers will draw up settlement documents in the usual way, and your collaboratively negotiated settlement will have the same effect as if agreement had been reached through traditional Lawyer based negotiation, or by Order of a Court following a litigated hearing.
At Doolan Callaghan Family Lawyers we have experienced Collaborative Family Law Lawyers who can assist you in participating in the process of Collaborative Law.