Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is focused on a non-adversarial approach to managing conflict and resolving disputes. 

Collaborative Law originally began in Minnesota in 1990 by American Lawyer Stu Webb.

Since its initial conception, this method has fast tracked its way through America adapting itself to relevant statutes and eventually trickling its way into Australia in 2005.  Its inception in to Australia was met with interest, particularly given the amendments made to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) mandating alternate dispute resolution practices for parties prior to making an Application to the Court.  Alternate Dispute Resolution Practices have become a growing industry in Australia and collaborative law appears to be no different.

What is Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a form of dispute resolution.  It is an interest based form of negotiation which involves relevant parties coming together in a manner that is focused on resolving the conflict and ultimately aiming to affect an agreement that is mutually desirable without the need for litigation.

The Collaborative Process

Collaborative law provides an interdisciplinary team approach which enables separating couples the benefit and assistance of other professionals working with them to ensure that their goals can be realised.  These teams can include:

  1. A neutral Financial Advisor, whose main priority is to assist clients identify their overall income, to understand what their assets, debts, expenses and superannuation funds are and how to best manage those issues before moving forward;
  2. Child Specialists further can play an important role in the negotiation process by providing a non-judgemental approach in assisting the parties develop a plan that protects and serves the child's interests at all times.  The child in this process is given a voice and is therefore able to communicate their needs and wishes in a manner that is respected and understood.
  3. Other professionals such as Counsellors or Mental Health workers can also be called upon during the process to assist the parties move beyond any impasse that is reached or generally to provide advice on specific issues.

The collaborative process requires all the parties involved, including the lawyers and any other professional brought in to execute a limited retainer Agreement. The Collaborative Agreement provides a distinct difference to other forms of Alternate Dispute Resolution in that it requires parties to agree to a disqualification clause.  This clause prevents the parties from instituting proceedings whilst the collaborative process is on foot and further prevents the respective lawyers acting for their clients if the collaborative process was to fail and the matter was to proceed to Court.

Collaborative law provides a more holistic approach to couples who are separating and their children by providing the necessary resources which allow for better informed choices to be made, which ultimately results in a healthier transition moving forward.

At Briese Lawyers, we understand the trauma that separation can cause and are here to assist you move forward positively.  Should you be interested in learning more about Collaborative law and whether it is suitable for your situation, please contact one of our Collaborative lawyers today.