Couples in the process of separation or divorce may have come across the term collaborative law. Our Family Lawyers explain “What is collaborative law” and when it may be beneficial to apply it to your circumstances.

What is collaborative law?

Collaborative law or collaborative practice is a process in which separating couples and their legal representatives enter a contract to constructively negotiate and resolve their dispute without litigation. This contract, called a Participation Agreement, requires the lawyers to withdraw from the matter if an application is made to litigate the matter.  By requiring lawyers to withdraw from the matter if it proceeds to Court, collaborative law enables complete focus to be placed upon negotiating and working towards resolving the dispute. It also removes the litigation aspect from the conversation allowing parties to focus completely on compromise and working together. This process opens all avenues of communication and facilitates open and honest interactions between parties as transparency is fundamental to the process.

The benefits of collaborative law

There are multiple benefits to collaborative law. These includee:  Firstly, increased autonomy and responsibility in the decision-making process and settlements.  Secondly, negotiations are private and confidential. Thirdly, workable solutions which are tailored to the parties’ goals, priorities and future needs.  Fourthly, emotional management may be easier as couples are not drawn into ‘tit-for-tat' arguments. Fifthly, quicker and more cost-effective than litigation. Finally, more in-depth time and assistance with legal representatives.

Is collaborative law always a suitable option?

Collaborative law is not necessarily a workable solution if there is a power imbalance in the relationship, allegations of violence or abuse or extreme conflict between the parties. However, this practice places the power back into the couple's hands and allows parties to resolve their dispute in a safe, informal atmosphere without the stress and expense of litigation or court. We highly recommend seeking legal advice from our Family Lawyers if you are considering using collaborative law during divorce proceedings. To discuss your Family Law matter and find the best option for you, please contact our Sydney Family Law team on 02 9891 6388.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.