Collaborative Practice – What is it and What are its advantages?
Have you recently separated? Are you worried about how you will reach an agreement with your ex regarding:
• Spending time with your children;
• Dividing your property;
• Meeting day to day financial commitments for yourself and your children?
You may have heard of the many downsides of a separation including:
• Drawn out and costly Court battles;
• Lives left in limbo until a resolution is reached;
• Solutions that are imposed by the Court and not necessarily ideal for either party.
Life after separation doesn’t have to be like this. Collaborative practice provides a fresh approach to separation. It allows parties to negotiate solutions that are specifically tailored to individual circumstances and issues.
The Queensland Association of Collaborative Lawyers states that the advantages of the collaborative process are:
1. You keep control of the process;
2. You avoid going to Court;
3. Children’s needs are given priority;
4. The solution fits you;
5. You are focused on settlement not focused on preparing for Court.
Collaborative practice is not used to seek revenge against your former partner or to pressure your former partner to agree to your wishes.
Both parties still have their own collaborative practitioner and both parties and their practitioners agree in advance not to take any contested issues to Court. Most matters will resolve in the collaborative process, however in the event agreement cannot be reached, then both parties need to obtain new lawyers before going to Court.
When going through the collaborative process, parties and their practitioners come together in a four-way meeting to reach a settlement.
Parties discuss all issues in an open manner and full disclosure is made about all matters.
Practitioners assist the negotiations with their advice and experience and if necessary, involve other collaborative professionals such as accountants, mediators, therapists, counsellors, financial planners and psychologists. In the end, the goal is to assist the parties to reach a resolution tailor made to their particular circumstances.
Once an agreement is reached, it is formalised in writing.