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What is Collaborative Practice

Collaborative Practice is an alternate dispute resolution methodology which allows parties to work together with their lawyers and other experts to find solutions for their family without Court intervention.

Elements of Collaborative Practice

  • Each collaborative practitioner must be specifically trained in collaborative practice;
  • Clients have access to the skills of mental health professionals, child specialists, accountants and financial advisors to assist them in their negotiations;
  • Negotiations are based on the couple’s interests, needs and concerns, not legal entitlements;
  • Each party must be willing to consider and address not only their own interests, needs and concerns but those of their former partner;
  • The parties, their lawyers and other experts brought into the process form a team, to work together for the benefit of both of the parties and their family.
  • The parties control the process and make decisions, with the backing and advice of their advisors.
  • If the process fails, the parties’ lawyers and experts withdraw from the process and can no longer act for the parties.

How it works

  • Couples and their respective lawyers sign a Participation Agreement whereby they agree not to go to Court whilst the process is ongoing;
  • Couples are assisted by a dedicated coach/facilitator who manages the process and helps the parties in their communication;
  • Couples are also assisted by a specifically trained financial advisor who can assist in generating financial options for the parties and reality-checking proposals;
  • The coach meets with each of the parties prior to the commencement of the Collaborative Process and attends at all of the joint meetings;
  • Where children are involved, coaches can also assist the parties in separate meetings to assist them with any parenting issues that might arise;
  • Joint meetings are held with the parties, their respective lawyers, the coach and any other experts brought into the process.
  • Legal advice is given to the parties by their respective lawyers in open meetings. Legal advice forms the background for the parties’ decisions, however, and is not at the forefront of their discussions
  • Once the matter is resolved, the lawyers can draft settlement documents which are lodged with the Court.

All of the practitioners of ATW Family Law are trained in collaborative practice. 

See a short video here which explains collaborative practice:

For more information, go to:-

What is the difference between Mediation and Collaborative Practice?

The Mediator controls the processThe parties control the process
Usually a one-off eventThe parties attend a series of meetings over a number of weeks/months
Neutral third-party mediator working with the parties/their lawyersThe lawyers work with each other, the coach and the parties to reach resolutions
Positional based negotiations – what are you entitled to?Interest based negotiation – ie what are your interests, needs and concerns and how can they be addressed?
Legal advice is confidentialLegal advice is given in team meetings
If agreement is reached, settlement documents are entered into to give legal effect to the agreement reachedIf agreement is reached, settlement documents are entered into to give legal effect to the agreement reached

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