Beyond the courtroom: finding common ground with collaborative family law

21 March 2024

Separation is a difficult time for everyone involved. Australian couples facing this challenge have an alternative to the traditional adversarial court system: collaborative family law.

Adopting this approach allows you and your former partner to decide what is important to you and your family when going through separation. Personalising the approach can create time and cost efficiencies for you and your former partner.

What is collaborative family law?

Collaborative practice involves both parties working together with specially trained lawyers and other professionals, such as financial advisors, family consultants, mental health professionals or other agreed neutral professionals, to reach an agreement outside of court. Everyone signs a contract stipulating that if the process breaks down, new lawyers will need to be engaged for litigation. This creates a strong incentive to find solutions collaboratively.

What are the advantages of collaborative family law?

  • Reduced conflict: Collaborative practice fosters a respectful and cooperative environment. Lawyers guide the conversation towards solutions rather than focusing on blame. This can significantly reduce the emotional strain of separation.
  • Control over the outcome: In court, a judicial officer decides the outcome. Collaborative practice empowers couples to craft an agreement that addresses their specific needs and priorities for the future, particularly when children are involved.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Collaborative practice can be faster and less expensive than litigation.
  • Preserving relationships: By fostering communication and cooperation, collaborative practice can help maintain a more civil relationship with your former partner, which is especially important if you have children together.
  • Focus on the future: Collaborative practice encourages future-oriented discussions, helping you and your former partner reach solutions that benefit everyone in the long term.

Is collaborative family law right for me?

Collaborative practice is not suitable for all situations. It works best when both parties are committed to working together respectfully and are open to honest communication. Negotiations should be conducted constructively, with both parties committed to finding common ground. If there is a history of abuse or a significant power imbalance, collaborative practice may not be the best option.

Is a positive separation really possible?

Collaborative family law offers a robust legal framework and viable alternative to the traditional court system for separating couples in Australia. By prioritising communication, cooperation, and finding solutions that work for everyone, collaborative practice can help navigate this difficult time in a more positive and constructive manner.

Collaborative practice empowers you to shape the outcome of your separation, ensuring it reflects your individual needs and priorities.

How do I find a collaborative family lawyer?

You can find a collaborative family lawyer year you by searching the directories maintained by the Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals, the Queensland Association of Collaborative Practitioners and the Central Sydney Collaborative Forum.

At Barry Nilsson we have a team of four collaboratively trained family lawyers who are ready to assist you.

Ready to take the next step?

If you are looking for advice or want more information regarding separation and collaborative law, you can get in touch with our Family Law experts here.

Ask us how we can help

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