Collaborative Law is a new approach to family law in Australia where each person appoints their own lawyer who is trained in this dispute resolution method. Collaborative Law differs from mediation in that each lawyer advises and advocates for their respective party rather than acting as a neutral facilitator.
The lawyers sign an agreement that they can never go to Court on this matter. If the parties can't agree, they’ll need to find new lawyers to pursue a solution through the Courts.
In Collaborative Law, the couple and the lawyers work together to share information and arrive at solutions through a series of meetings. The lawyers never negotiate without the active participation of their clients.
Collaborative lawyers often work with other professionals such as counsellors, accountants and financial advisers. These individuals are trained in collaborative approaches, and are used to provide information and support that helps the couple reach an amicable agreement.
Compared to mediation, the situation is more even because both parties have legal support and advice. It is more expensive as a result, but still less costly than litigation. What’s more, couples maintain more control over the outcome than they would if they surrendered judgment to the courts.
Collaborative Law often changes the behaviour of clients and lawyers. Partially, this is because everyone understands the lawyers will never be going head-to-head in a courtroom. This allows more trust to develop so the couple can communicate openly and find effective solutions.
Because it provides a better opportunity for couples to resolve their issues respectfully, the chance is greater that a good relationship can be maintained. This can be particularly important if there are children where co-parenting decisions are involved.
James Noble is trained in Collaborative Law. He is part of a growing network of collaborative practitioners who can offer this low-conflict approach for Queensland couples. James is also a member of the Queensland Collaborative Law committee.
The video below will explain how the collaborative process could work for you