“I will see you in court”. Words that no doubt add significantly to the stress parties are already experiencing when they are separating. Do you know what other alternatives are available to you when you and your partner have to deal with the split of your assets and matters that concern your children? Lengthy, costly and emotionally draining court proceedings should be a last resort.
You now have the option of using Collaborative Family Law to achieve your goals based on mutual respect.
Collaborative Law is recognised as an alternative dispute resolution option.
Since the early 1990’s, Collaborative Law has been successfully used in America and Canada to provide separated couples with a workable solution as far as issues pertaining to their separation are concerned. In Western Australia Collaborative Professionals WA was established in 2004.
In the collaborative practice the parties agree to resolve their differences resulting from their separation without involving the Family Court. This means that the parties agree not to commence court proceedings. To formalise their agreement the parties and their collaborative law lawyers enter into a participation agreement.
In the collaborative law process the parties and their lawyers agree to work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the parties in their circumstances and where needed, employ the services of other professionals such as financial advisors, accountants, child experts and counsellors to help to achieve such an outcome.
The parties are very involved throughout the collaborative process, which allows them to retain control over the outcome and their futures.
Each party employs and pays his or her own Collaborative Law family lawyer and will be responsible for his or her own legal fees.
Correspondence is kept to a minimum, which helps to keep costs down. Meetings between the parties and their lawyers are held from time to time to progress the collaborative process.
As the parties agree not to go to court, the parties will not incur the substantial costs associated with court proceedings.
The costs of employing experts such as valuers, financial advisors, child experts are normally shared equally by the parties.
If you want a dignified, non-aggressive resolution to your family law matter, you want to avoid court costs and you want to be in control of decisions relating to your financial future and your children, Collaborative Family Law may well be for you.
As part of the process, the parties will have to be prepared to provide full financial disclosure, they will have to be willing to recognise the needs of the other party and the children and be prepared to consider various possibilities for an agreement.
The collaborative process usually takes somewhere between 10 and 30 weeks (which is substantially shorter than court proceedings which from commencement to judgement are, as at February 2014, on average more than 2 years).
It should be noted that if a matter cannot be settled through the collaborative process your Collaborative Law lawyer will not be able to represent you in any subsequent Family Court proceedings.
For more information on Collaborative Family Law please contact us. Jacqui Brown practises in the area of Collaborative Family Law. You can also visit the following websites: