Collaborative Family Law is an Alternate Dispute Resolution process designed to assist separating couples sort-out the issues arising from their separation by focusing on developing “win-win” outcomes and avoid going to Court. Regardless of whether the separation involves parenting and/or property settlement issues, Collaborative Family Law is an effective way of successfully reaching amicable settlements.
Participants and their lawyers commit to negotiate a “win-win” legally binding agreement and do so by participating in 4 way face-to-face meetings involving the parties and their lawyers.
An important aspect of the process is the Participation Agreement which everyone, including the specialist trained Collaborative Family Lawyers, sign which sets-out the ground rules for the collaborative process. Importantly, the Participation Agreement ensures confidentiality and stipulates that if either party commences Court proceedings, both Collaborative Lawyers shall be disqualified from representing either of them in Court. This ensures everyone involved (including the Lawyers) are focused on a successful settlement outcome.
The majority of the negotiations and communication occurs through the 4 way meetings eliminating much of the correspondence between the lawyers. By being present throughout the negotiation process, you and your partner retain control. The scope for misunderstandings is reduced and you will be assisted in communicating with each other in a non-confrontational way. This is particularly important if you are parenting children together.
Once an agreement has been reached which satisfies the needs of both participants and their families, the lawyers work together to draft the agreement into a legally- binding document such as Consent Orders.