Collaborative Practice in family law is a holistic, solutions-focussed dispute resolution method, which both parties and their lawyers agree to participate in. The aim is to find solutions which optimise the outcome for the family as a whole, rather than each person focussing on achieving the best result for themselves to the possible detriment of the other party (and possibly also their children). The parties also make a commitment to engage in the process in good faith, with respect and honesty, and without recourse to court proceedings. By removing the threat of litigation, parties are able to negotiate without fear of winding up in court.
The Collaborative process usually involves a series of meetings between the parties and their lawyers. It can also involve a “coach” or neutral chairperson, as well as other professionals such as financial advisors or child consultants. Importantly, all professionals involved in the process consider the options from both parties’ perspectives, rather than advocating for one person’s position to be favoured.
While Collaborative Practice in family law is used frequently interstate, it is an emerging area in Tasmania. However, many of the principles and methods used in Collaborative Practice have application in other forms of dispute resolution. That means even where a “pure” Collaborative approach cannot be used (i.e. where one party’s lawyer is not Collaboratively trained), we can still apply much the same approach in mediations, solicitor-assisted negotiation, or family dispute resolution conferences.
For further information about Collaborative Practice in family law, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, contact our Family Law Team.