Negotiation is commonly practised in the field of family law during dispute resolutions. In negotiation, separated parties come together to discuss and try to resolve all or some of their issues.
The Family Law Act requires that parties make a genuine effort in resolving their issues before going to court or in order to avoid going to court. There are only limited instances when parties are not required to negotiate with each other such as when there are allegations of family violence or child abuse.
Negotiation may be done by parties meeting in person, by letter, telephone, email correspondence, text message, video calls or video conference. Parties may negotiate by themselves or with the help of a Family Relationship Centre, lawyers, family counsellors, and family dispute resolution practitioners. In a “roundtable conference” type of negotiation, parties with their lawyers conduct a meeting to discuss their issues and hopefully come to an agreement.
Knowing about the different models of negotiation can help parties and their lawyers decide which is most suitable to the circumstances of the case. One model of negotiation is the Interest Based Model which is considered appropriate for family law cases because it turns the focus of the parties on the concerns and interests that underlie their legal positions.
Another model of negotiation is the Adversarial Type wherein lawyers try to reach an agreement from their legal positions. In the adversarial type, the lawyers of the parties have an active participation in the negotiation process. The lawyers are the ones who do the negotiation for the parties since they would be negotiating based on the application of the law.
This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from divorce lawyers when contemplating a separation or soon after a relationship comes to an end.