The following article is from the Australian Blog, Two Homes.Nice to see collaborative family law as a method of resolving divorce and family law cases is taking root "down under."

What Is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative family law is a new approach to dealing with separation
and divorce issues that doesn't involve the courts. If you adopt this
process you and your respective lawyers formally agree (i.e. sign a
written agreement) to work together to find a mutually acceptable and
fair solution to your financial and child related issues – without
involving the courts.

This approach is based on a team effort. You, your former partner, your
lawyers and other professionals where required work together to resolve
whatever is in dispute e.g. child support, division of assets or
parenting of the children.

If your lawyers are unable to get you and your former partner to reach
an agreement and you want to take the matter to court, they must resign
from the case and you will need to hire new lawyers.

What Are The Advantages Of Collaborative Family Law?

  • Promotes co-operation between you and your former partner
  • You both have legal advisors at every stage of the process
  • Clients are often encouraged to bring in different experts where
    appropriate such as child specialists, counsellors, accountants and
    financial advisers
  • Generally saves you time and money
  • You are guaranteed that your lawyers will do their best to reach a fair agreement and try to keep you out of court
  • Litigation can never be threatened
  • Likely to produce an agreement that meets both your own needs

What Is The Difference Between Collaborative Law And Mediation?

Mediation involves a neutral third person (a mediator) that facilitates
discussion between you and your former partner and does not give legal

In a collaborative process there are 4 people involved in all meetings:

  • You
  • Your former partner
  • Your lawyer
  • Your former partner's lawyer

What Are The Key Features Of Collaborative Law?

  • You, your former partner and both collaborative lawyers work as a team versus 'opposing parties'
  • You, your spouse and both collaborative lawyers sign a contract agreeing not to go to court
  • The Collaborative Family Law Process uses informal discussions and conferences to settle all issues
  • Collaborative Divorce offers separating couples an inter-disciplinary way of dealing with separation and divorce
  • Offers a dispute resolution model that provides a structure for both emotional support and legal guidance

What Are The Differences Between A Collaborative And Traditional Approach?

In a collaborative approach:

  • Both parties agree to stay out of court
  • The emphasis is on creating solutions that address the needs and values of the whole family
  • The main goal is to reach a fair, equitable and comprehensive settlement of all issues outside of a court room