Collaborative practice is a popular dispute resolution method developed in the United States in the early 1990s. It has gained rapid popularity in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Now Collaborative practice is available to help people in Australia.
Benefits of Collaborative Practice
- You have the benefit of being advised and supported by your lawyer at all times.
- The outcomes are generally faster than traditional negotiation methods and most certainly quicker than court outcomes.
- The outcomes are certain and long lasting because they are owned by you as you assisted in creating the outcomes.
- The process promotes co-operation in the future particularly where long-term investments are involved.
- Resolutions are reached in a dignified and respectful way.
- The outcomes are often tailor made and more creative providing fairer settlements.
Collaborative practice may be suitable for you and your partner if both of you:
- Wish to spare your children from the emotional damage litigation can cause.
- Accept personal responsibility in moving forward and reaching agreement.
- Believe it is important to create healthy and more holistic solutions for your futures.
- Understand and embrace the necessity to make full and frank disclosure about financial issues.
Collaborative practice may not be suitable for you and your partner if either of you:
- Have a primary aim to seek revenge against your former spouse or partner.
- Are looking for a “soft option”.
- Believe the procedure will pressure your spouse or partner to agree to your wishes.
- Want to avoid giving certain financial information to your spouse or partner.
- Where your relationship has experienced domestic violence or any form of abuse. If this is the case, the lawyers will first have to determine whether Collaborative practice is appropriate. It may be that other professionals are required to be involved to assist and support you through the process and to ensure that your interests are promoted and protected.
Make your own decisions
The Collaborative approach will enable you and your partner to resolve your issues respectfully, so that you can arrive at dignified solutions to your dispute with your partner and maintain a sound relationship with each other in the future, especially if long term financial interests are involved. In the Collaborative practice process, emphasis is placed on reaching agreement, rather than having to ‘battle it out in Court’.
Commitment to non-confrontational dispute resolution
In the Collaborative practice you will be asked to sign a Participation Agreement so that you demonstrate your commitment to resolving your differences with your partner in a respectful manner, with full and frank disclosure of information and with a minimum of conflict. Open communication will build an environment of trust. This trust will help you, your partner and both of your lawyers to work together in finding workable solutions to your dispute.
In Collaborative practice, you and your partner and your lawyers will work together to share information and to arrive at solutions through a series of meetings. Your lawyer will never negotiate deals without your active participation. A major benefit of Collaborative practice is that you and your partner can each contribute to the compromised agreements that you make together, instead of having to settle with a decision imposed upon you by the Court.