“Collaborative law” refers to a more complex, structured negotiation process where parties and their lawyers agree to attend a series of what have been termed “four-way” meetings, in which negotiations take place.
At the outset, parties sign a formal agreement to commit to the collaborative law process, which includes making undertakings not to pursue litigation.
A key element of collaborative law is that lawyers may no longer act for their clients if one or both clients decide to withdraw from the process and commence court proceedings. In the collaborative law process, an interest-based model of negotiation is used and meetings can also involve experts, such as accountants, financial advisors and psychologists, if this will assist resolution. Collaborative law originated in the United States and Canada and is now becoming more widely used by Australian family lawyers.
Both parties have an initial meeting with their respective lawyers to obtain advice regarding the Collaborative Family Law process and to identify the issues that are important to them. The parties and their lawyers then come together in four-way meetings (you, your spouse/partner and each of your lawyers) to reach a settlement.
In these four way meetings the parties put their "cards on the table" and all issues are discussed in an open non-confrontational manner.
The lawyers support the negotiations by providing the parties with the structure to facilitate agreement as well as the benefit of their skills, advice and support. With this assistance, in an atmosphere of openness and honesty, couples can communicate their respective needs and work towards securing their future.
All involved are committed to not exacerbating the conflict;
A potential for improvement of clients communication, negotiation and problem solving skills which may assist to avoid or minimise future conflict.
An agreement to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without going to court to resolve disputes;
To understand how collaborative family law can help you, please contact our family lawyers.