Sometimes mediation isn’t quite the right fit, but you still want to avoid expensive and stressful court proceedings.
Collaborative Law is the perfect middle ground solution. A dispute resolution process which allows both parities and their lawyers to legally finalise their separation without the burden of going to court. Each party sign a contract agreeing not to go to court and not to use threats of court.
There are no set dates which gives both parties the freedom and flexibility to settle their matters at a location of your choice and all negotiations are private and confidential rather than public.
This process allows parties to make decisions and resolve all separation disputes including child support, parenting arrangements as well as property and financial settlements.
Collaboration vs Mediation
Through the mediation process, there is one impartial mediator (unable to make decisions or offer advice) compared to the collaborative process which allows you to have your lawyer with you throughout the process to provide guidance, reassure you and emotionally support you which is a great benefit, especially if you are nervous about the process.
Mediation is best suited to those who are confident to advocate for themselves. Both parties need to be open to options and able to communicate directly with their ex-partner with a mediator present. This process requires individuals to be self-aware, manage their emotions and work together to make decisions.
Collaborative law is a better option for those who would like the guidance of their lawyer who has their best interests at heart. If you feel you’re not quite confident to tackle those stressful conversations about finances and custody directly with your ex and want to avoid a court process this is a great option for you.
While mediation is often a one-off event where couples aim to discuss and agree to all aspects of their separation in one hit, the collaborative process usually takes longer. Spreading out the process over a series of meetings will give you both the time to consider your options over time before making your final agreements.
Benefits to collaborative law;
- Lawyer support – In mediation you need to advocate for yourself. Collaborative law allows you to have your lawyer guiding you through the process while supporting you emotionally. You’ll have someone on your side with you providing advice and tips along the way to help resolve matters with finances and custody.
- Confidentiality – Unlike court results ending up on public record, collaborative law is a private and confidential process protecting everyone’s sensitive and personal information.
- Desired outcomes – if going through a court proceeding, a result will be ruled by the court, often this is not an outcome either party would have chosen. Through a collaborative process both parties can negotiate aspects of the settlement together, with their lawyer’s assistance and advice. The process is entirely voluntary, so you never need to agree to anything that doesn’t feel right to you. You can lean on your lawyer for advice and guidance not feel pressured into making decisions you are uncomfortable with on the spot.
- Time & cost saver – Court cases can take years as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars. In comparison, collaboration provides both parties with flexibility of timeframes while saving you both thousands in legal fees.
- Relationship preservation – Court hearings are high-conflict and extremely negative which can be destructive to relationships of both children, ex-partners and extended family. Collaboration provides parties a space to communicate and reinforces the concept of co-parenting, often the best long-term option for families to maintain a good relationship.
- Mental health – Most often in an informal setting, collaboration is much less stressful than the daunting process and environment of court. Separations are stressful and take a huge toll on participant’s mental health and wellbeing. This process is overall calmer and provides you with the time and space to make decisions without the pressure of a quick result of mediation or the stressful burden of court.
- Professional input – advice from external services such as financial professionals, child experts and mental health workers or counsellors can also be included in the process if both parties agree to assist them in tailoring agreements to their unique situation.
Managing emotions can be difficult, especially when it comes to children. Going through a process where everyone is content with an end result will ultimately be the best solution for all parties and children involved long term. Going to court is a conflict-based approach which creates additional tension. In addition, it can take years to finally resolve matters and creates a negative strain on relationships. Collaborative law is a great way to avoid that extra conflict and help preserve your parenting and family relationship. Rather than heading to court it will also save time, money, stress and a major strain on your mental health. Your lawyer can help you stay calm and make rational decisions throughout the process.
How can we get started?
Feel like this is the best way forward for you? Or still a little unsure and what some more information?
Contact our friendly team to discuss your situation, we’ll be able to assist in strategizing for you and advising weather mediation, collaborative law or another option best for your specific circumstances.
Parker Coles Curtis lawyers are here to help when times are hard. We understand that settling family law matters can be a challenging and emotional time. It is our goal to assist to reduce that stress and guide you.
We have beautifully designed offices to help you feel at ease during your mediation or collaboration process and will be with you every step of the way. We’re always here for you when you need us most.
(02) 5114 2660