So, you want to have a Collaborative Divorce?
WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE?
If separating gives you angst about endless =litigation and courtroom disputes – consider having a collaborative divorce. Working this way encourages you and your former partner to maintain a working relationship which is the goal to long term co-parenting. Collaborative practice is a method of working towards settlement without litigation. We utilise methods of dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation through several collaborative meetings. You and your partner will engage with specially trained collaborative lawyers who work together over several meetings, often with mental health and financial experts, to negotiate a settlement. The goal of the meetings is to work out details including parenting arrangements, division of assets and other day to day issues which may affect your family. After a series of meetings where we work through issues and map out a pathway forward, settlement documents are drafted, and your divorce is finalised.
Issues that can be discussed include:
- Property settlement
- Child support
- Spousal Maintenance
- Ongoing parenting arrangements for children
- Relocation of children including international relocation
- Company restructures
- Any other issues that affect any member of the family arising either during the marriage or after separation
- Binding Financial Agreements
SO WHY CHOOSE COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE?
This method of dispute resolution focusses on open communication and transparency. We work together by encouraging productive discussion and brainstorming to work towards resolution that suits your unique family. It is important to remember that no two families are the same and no two separation agreements should be the same. Utilising collaborative practice allows you to construct a plan for your family long term to co-parent and function as a separated family, together.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Parties and their legal representatives will enter into a ‘participation agreement’ which contracts the team into finalising the legal aspects of their separation without attending Court. We then use interest-based negotiation to work towards a mutually beneficial outcome. The benefit of the collaborative meetings is that we balance needs and concerns with ideal outcomes. The role of the lawyers is to remain impartial and assist both parties in making decisions and resolving issues. The coach will encourage and facilitate outcomes by focussing on needs and goals. The financial neutral will assist in gathering information from each of you and will summarise your financial position. They will often arrange business and real estate valuations and help you both to understand your financial situation, current and future cash flows.
A child expert or communication professional will often assist in developing a parenting plan, focussing on the needs and requirements of your particular family. They will also assist in navigating the difficult emotion aspects of your separation. The aim is to encourage a meaningful co-parenting relationship long-term. Collaborative Practice empowers individuals and provides them with the tools and resources to help restructure their lives without the bitterness and cost of litigation.
The resolution reached after the meetings are concluded will be drafted into legally binding family law documents – we recommend Consent Orders made through the Family
Court. This assists you and your family to move forward with your lives in an amicable and conciliatory way. As your lawyer, prior to finalising the settlement, we will still provide you with advice about your rights, entitlements and obligations under The Family Law Act. It is important to remember that the process is private, and any negotiations are conducted ‘off the record’.
For further information:
- Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals: https://www.collaborativeaustralia.com.au
- Central Sydney Collaborative Forum: http://www.sydneycollablaw.com.au
If you would like to discuss the various methods of dispute resolution to resolve your matter, contact one of our specialist family lawyers today.