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Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law

Divorce Without Court. Consensual Resolution of Family Law Cases. 

What is Collaborative Law? 

Collaborative Law or Practice is a form of dispute resolution used by married or de facto couples after separation, which means you do not have to go to the Family Court.

Collaborative Law is a process where you and your former spouse/partner finalise the legal aspects of your separation or divorce outside of the Family Court. It uses a team of professionals to come to the best solution for all parties involved. This process is suited to families undergoing separation by removing many of the factors that make divorce a difficult, highly emotional, distressing experience.  

When taking part in this process, you and your former partner negotiate a family law property settlement and/or parenting agreement in a way that is respectful to each other, puts the interests of your children first, and has a focus on meeting your family’s needs as a whole.

It can be a a solution-focused and cost-effective approach to reaching a family law agreement in a consensual way, minimising conflict.

Collaborative Law offers a way of managing disagreements, before they become disputes. Conflict is not inevitable. 

The aim of Collaborative Law is to walk away with an outcome that is fair, confidential, and without court proceedings. This process aims to maintain a respectful relationship with your former partner.  


How does this process work?  

The collaborative process begins with both parties agreeing to stay out of court. Problems are worked through by discussing them in an open and respectful environment, with support from respective legal teams. This open environment encourages peaceful dispute resolution, and fosters clear communication, minimising instances of misunderstanding or mistrust between parties. Due to the nature of Collaborative Law, the process is generally faster and less expensive than traditional litigation. 


How does Collaborative Law remove the threat of litigation?  

The collaborative process involves parties working with their collaboratively-trained lawyers and, on occasion, other professionals, in order to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children. 

It is different to the traditional forms of mediation or litigation.  

In the collaborative process, parties and their lawyers enter into a contract to practically negotiate an outcome without resorting to litigation. The contract provides that the parties’ lawyers must withdraw if an application is made to a Court to determine the issues, which removes the temptation for either party and their lawyer to threaten and/or commence litigation.  

If the collaborative process does not resolve the dispute and the parties are required to proceed to Court, the lawyers for both cannot represent the parties in any subsequent, related litigation and parties are referred to new lawyers.  

As a result of entering into this contract, both parties focus on working towards reaching a solution, and they have a shared commitment to achieving their settlement goals. Ultimately, the collaborative process allows parties to focus on resolving family law disputes with minimal conflict and without the underlying threat of litigation.   

In a collaborative process, you are in control and your confidential and transparent negotiations take an interest-based, team approach. 

Benefits of the Collaborative Process: 
  • Your children are protected and their needs are given priority 
  • You retain control of the cost and pace of your matter  
  • You avoid the cost – both emotional and financial, of taking your matter to Court 
  • You can focus on a solution, rather than gathering evidence for Court proceedings  
  • Your solution can be unique to your situation, as opposed to the generalised/one size fits all approach of court  

Frequently Asked Questions: Collaborative Law

How can Collaborative Practice help me and/or my children?

Collaborative practice respects the needs of all parties involved.

By working with a team of professionals, which may include psychologists and child advocates, your views will be considered in a holistic manner. 

Taking the proceedings out of the courts fosters open communication and minimises conflict, which removes some of the stress from a difficult time. 

The non-adversarial nature of collaborative practice enables you to maintain a better relationship with your former partner and thereby makes it easier to work with them in regards to parenting arrangements. It will minimise the stress your children experience as a result of separation. 

If you are concerned about your children's wellbeing throughout the divorce process, a child specialist or pyschologist can join the collaborative team to advocate for their interests. 

How is Collaborative Practice different from using a Mediator?

When a dispute between partners goes to mediation, a third party (the mediator) helps negotiate a settlement. 

However, the mediator cannot provide legal advice. In disputes settle by collaborative practice, both parties are supported by lawyers and other professionals.

How do I know my case won't end up in Court?

When you agree to resolve disputes by means of Collaborative Practice, you and your former partner sign an agreement in which you agree to not take the case to court.

Therefore, one side cannot threaten the other with court proceedings. If you are unable to reach an agreement and decide you must take your matter to court, both lawyers must withdraw from the case and the collaborative process will be brought to an end. 

Is my case suitable for Collaborative Practice?

Collaborative Practice is suitable for cases where both partners are invested in solving the dispute in a way that minimises conflict, where both parties can discuss their needs in an open manner. Due to the nature of Collaborative Practice, there are some cases where it is not suitable. 

If one party does not want to disclose information, or wants to use the process to pressure the other into agreeing on their terms, they should not purse Collaborative Practice. 

If there has been a history of domestic abuse or violence, Collaborative Practice may not be appropriate. 

A lawyer may be needed to determine if it can or should be implemented - and to ensure that your interests are protected. 

Who can I speak to about Collaborative Practice?

Experienced Family Lawyers, Jodi Dingwall and Emma Donald are Collaboratively trained Family Lawyers with a genuine desire to help you. 

Call O'Shea Dyer Solicitors today on 4772 5155 to book an appointment. The first appointment with your lawyer is an important first step towards your future. Don't delay. Waiting too long could affect your outcomes.

We understand it is important to have a Family Lawyer who is affordable, available and trustworthy. It is important to us that you feel comfortable with your choice of lawyer as this is a difficult time where you are navigating significant change. 

Please know that we would genuinely like to help you. We want to take the heat and stress out of your situation. We want to help you get back to being the best Mum or Dad you can be, and to assist in sorting your financial future. We will guide and help you manage change so that you can move forward to a positive future.

The purpose of this appointment is to give you realistic advice about your situation. We listen to you explain your situation. We talk about the law and the processes to resolve your issues. We advise you on the steps you should take and what we can do for you as your lawyers. We talk about the costs and your expected outcomes. 

8:30 - 17:00
8:30 - 17:00

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07 4772 5155

Jodi Dingwall

Solicitor

Call 07 4772 5155 or use our contact form:

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Emma Donald

Solicitor

Call 07 4772 5155 or use our contact form:

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