Collaborative Practice

At Tolis & Co we have collaboratively trained lawyers who can help you resolve the issues arising from your separation through an alternative process aimed at avoiding litigation in the Family Law Courts. The process promotes the preservation of harmony, enhancement of positive communication and future, outcome focused thinking.

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law practice is a dispute resolution process wherein the parties and their respective lawyers enter into an agreement, known as a Participation Agreement, that they will resolve their dispute out of court. The agreement provides that neither party will litigate or threaten litigation during the collaborative law process and will instead:

  • Commit to proceed honestly, respectfully and in good faith;
  • Actively participate, including by gathering and sharing information and identifying interests and concerns;
  • Identify goals and individual interests of one another and the family;
  • Jointly retain neutral third party experts as required throughout the process;
  • Disclose all information and documentation relevant to the resolution of the matter.

The aim of the collaborative law process is to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution to the dispute between the parties through interest-based negotiations. These negotiations take place through a series of meetings with both parties, their lawyers and third party expert neutrals, such as financial planners, accountants and child psychologists. As with the traditional law model, clients and lawyers have a duty to make a full and frank disclosure and lawyers have a duty to assist the family to attain the best possible outcome.

Essentially, by treating everyone involved with respect, the collaborative law model empowers participants to resolve their disputes in a manner that maintains their dignity and avoids the trauma of litigation.

What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Law?

  • Minimises the emotional distress children are otherwise exposed to through ongoing conflict between their parents and litigation.
  • The parties are committed to not exacerbating conflict and thus there is an increased likelihood to preserve future relationships.
  • The parties are always present and are empowered to participate in their own negotiations, resulting in the parties having greater control over the outcome of their matter.
  • The parties avoid the costs, time delays and emotional stress of litigation.
  • The parties jointly approve expenditure for all steps of the process and agree on how the same are to be paid.
  • Maximum flexibility to explore creative solutions to fit the individual circumstances.
  • The same process of identifying and valuing assets and liabilities is used as would be undertaken in any other traditional law process.
  • The process is future-focused in that the best outcome for the family is the focus.
  • Without the threat of litigation, parties who have needs and vulnerabilities, are more likely to engage willingly and meaningfully in negotiations than in the traditional model of negotiations
  • Both parties have their lawyers and neutral third party experts present at every stage of the process to provide advice and support.
  • The parties set their own time frame for settling their dispute.
  • All negotiations are private and confidential.

Is the Collaborative Law model right for you?

Does the collaborative law process sound like a process you would like to engage in to resolve your family law matter?  Senior Associates, Rebecca Lucas and Andrew Redman-Wenham are collaboratively trained family lawyers. They can assist you in determining whether the collaborative law process is right for you, or whether a more traditional approach is appropriate.