What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is an option that allows a resolution of your parenting matter and/or your property settlement when you want to avoid going to court.
So what is it? A process that involves a series of meetings between you, your spouse and your collaboratively trained lawyers.
You and your spouse in that process have committed to resolving your differences without the threat of court proceedings. Where necessary, financial advice from a third party can be used and also independent advice from a child expert.
The informal meetings do away with the traditional process of lawyers exchanging correspondence – something that can flare emotions and send parties towards a polarised position which is not ideal for moving towards resolution.
What is the Collaborative Law process?
Rather than the traditional methods of resolving family or property matters, in Collaborative Law any communication usually involves and engages you and your spouse. You and your spouse are usually present for the negotiations and in fact are the drivers of those negotiations.
The lawyers involved help you identify the issues and generate options for resolution. You pick the outcome and the lawyers then formalise the agreement that was reached.
What sets Collaborative Law apart is the lawyers engaged in the process have agreed at the outset that they cannot represent the parties further if court becomes necessary. This ensures the absolute commitment of the lawyers to the process and sets it apart from litigation based negotiation.
Whilst the process of Collaborative Law is relatively new in Australia it has been used successfully in America for many years.
What is the Difference Between Collaborative Law and Mediation?
Typically, in mediation, there will be the two parties who are trying to resolve their issue through negotiation and a neutral mediator to guide the parties towards a resolution.
With Collaborative Law, each party will have a non-neutral advocate on their side as opposed to having a neutral mediator.
The role that a Collaborative Lawyer plays within this negotiation process is to take a team approach, with their client's interests front of mind rather than a right's based approach that is seen in mediation.
If the matter does not resolve at a Mediation, the lawyers remain acting for the parties. But with Collaborative Law, if the matter is not resolved, the lawyers for each party will not represent the parties going forward.
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Law?
It can minimise legal costs compared to traditional methods. Collaborative Law focuses on both of you maintaining an amicable relationship which is particularly important where children are involved.
The resolution is often an outcome that a court could not entertain and this is particularly the case in property settlements.
If you are keen to minimise legal fees and wish to avoid the two of you “going into your corner”, speak to a lawyer trained in Collaborative Law. For a free initial telephone discussion with an experienced Collaborative Lawyer, telephone our Brisbane office (07) 3236 9169 our Toowoomba Office (07) 4639 2944, or complete the contact form on this page.