Collaborative law is an alternate form of dispute resolution for resolving family law matters without going to court.
It will put you and your former partner in the driver’s seat to allow you to craft a more meaningful outcome for your family following separation.
Collaborative law is often referred to as “mediation with advice” where each party engages a collaboratively trained lawyer and other professionals to identify the important issues for them, discuss the process and determine if it is right for them and their situation.
We offer fixed-fee no-obligation initial appointments to meet with a collaborative divorce lawyer and discuss your circumstances. Find out more about our initial advice appointments here.
If you both agree to a collaborative pathway, you will each need to engage a collaborative lawyer and you can find a listing of those here. It is a relatively small community and our team of collaborative lawyers in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich and North Lakes are well connected within that community. This makes sure that you benefit from healthy working relationships to facilitate a collaborative outcome.
All parties will then need to sign a collaborative practice contract confirming that you agree to undertake a collaborative process and will engage in a way that is appropriate, as well as acknowledging that your collaborative lawyer (or any member of their firm) will not be able to represent you if the matter needs to proceed to a litigation stage.
Negotiations are conducted in meetings with all parties, and any neutral collaboratively trained experts, present and an agenda is agreed before each meeting. That way everyone knows exactly what is on the table and can be prepared for those discussions without any nasty little surprises.
You and your former partner once had something very special and unique. Collaborative law lets you honour that relationship, even after it has ended, to preserve what you had and especially your emotional and financial wellbeing, and that of any children you share.
The collaborative process supports this by:
- minimising conflict now and well into the future;
- avoiding court and the emotional and financial expense that can bring at an already difficult time;
- prioritising your children’s needs and future wellbeing;
- maintaining dignity, respect and privacy;
- allowing you to communicate effectively;
- giving you better control over the process; and
- providing for a fairer outcome based on your needs, wants and desires
In our experience, most people would like an amicable resolution to their family law matter that doesn’t cost the earth or their emotional wellbeing. Collaborative law certainly fits the bill.
To help decide if collaborative law is right for you, consider the following and how agreeable both parties are to:
- behaving in a respectful manner towards each other;
- being transparent about your financial situation and exchanging financial information;
- maintaining confidentiality about the matter and expressing your needs frankly and honestly;
- making sure your children don’t feel caught in the middle by creating a more holistic resolution for your family;
- a cost-effective and efficient alternative; and
- reaching agreement without the threat of court proceedings.
Alternatively, if you want revenge or the capacity to pressure your former partner, want to withhold certain financial information or there is a history of domestic and family violence then collaborative practice is not the right choice for you at this time.
If collaborative law does not work and court is the only alternative, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and cannot represent either of you in court proceedings and litigation.
It is very rare that this happens but, if it does, we will always provide you with a quality referral to only the best family lawyers to assist you on the next step of your family law journey. They will also be provided with all of the details about your family law matter so far to avoid the need to have to tell your story all over again and feel like you are just going in circles.
Other collaboratively trained experts such as accountants, financial advisers, mediators, psychologists, communication specialists and counsellors are involved in the matter when specialist advice is required. These experts will provide assistance to the parties and their lawyers to problem solve at meetings.
Kara Best is an Accredited Family Law Specialists, and Carla Franchina and Max Sutton are trained collaborative family lawyers. You can make an initial fixed-fee, no-obligation appointment with Kara, Carla or Max.
Best Wilson Buckley Family Law offers collaborative options for people going through a separation or divorce as private practitioners across South East Queensland and also as part of a community pilot project in the Toowoomba region. Contact us to find out more.
Collaborative law was the brainchild of a US attorney, Stu Webb, in 1990 and made its way to Queensland in 2003. The Queensland Association of Collaborative Practitioners was established in 2006 and now has more than 130 members.
Contact our family law team for a consultation
Our collaborative divorce lawyer Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich & North Lakes are here to work with you, assisting you to reach a mutually beneficial outcome in a more respectful and dignified manner.