By Gianna Huesch
We recently discussed mediation as a form of alternate dispute resolution which can help you achieve a better outcome for your family law matter without the need to go to court. Many people are deeply dissatisfied with the family court system, but are perhaps unaware that they do have other options for resolving their family law matter. Today, we review another option available to separating couples: Collaborative law.
Collaborative law is designed to achieve cooperation between divorcing partners with parties making a pledge at the outset to avoid court. The parties engage a collaborative team, comprising a lawyer for each party as well as neutral mental health and financial professionals. Working as a team, these professionals share information and focus on the goals and interests of each party to help couples restructure their families and finances with a minimum of conflict.
Queensland-based family lawyer Jennifer Hetherington spoke last week to Lawyers Weekly about collaborative law and noted that many people incorrectly assume collaborative law is a ‘soft option’ or that no legal advice is provided during the process, which can’t be further from the truth. While couples voluntarily choose to resolve their issues without court, they do receive intensive help from the collaboratively-trained solicitors, who act as peacemakers rather than in a traditional adversarial role. (If the case is not able to settle through the collaborative process, the solicitors and other professionals involved are obliged to withdraw and are not allowed to represent the parties in any subsequent litigation.)
Cost-conscious and time-efficient, a collaborative divorce helps couples proceed through divorce with as much civility and respect as is possible, empowering them to control the outcome of their matter and create their own post-divorce parenting relationship. As with other forms of alternate dispute resolution, collaboration helps parents protect kids from a protracted, stressful courtroom battle. Through the process, parents typically learn better communication skills and find co-parenting becomes easier because hostility is not allowed to build up.
Clients retaining us to act for them in a collaborative divorce report coming away feeling empowered and positive about their futures, which is the best outcome you can hope for when going through something as tough as divorce.
Here at Alliance Family Law, we have a special interest and expertise in collaborative divorce. We regularly attend training sessions and are part of the Canberra Collaborative Group. Please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our solicitors on (02) 6223 2400 for a no-obligation, cost-free first conference to discover the benefits of choosing the collaborative option.