Sunday, May 19, 2013

Collaborative Divorce Thrives in Australia

The concept of collaborative divorce is gaining traction worldwide as an alternative to the traditional courtroom battles epitomized in movies like Kramer vs. Kramer and War of the Roses.  Family law practitioners in Australia have come to embrace collaborative family law, a process by which participants agree to settle disputes in private discussions rather than in adversarial courthouse proceedings.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals indicates that there are currently 14 practice groups in Australia.

One of those groups, Queensland Collaborative Law, describes collaborative divorce as follows:





WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE LAW PRACTICE

As a result of separation, the finances and lives of separating couples and their children change. Sometimes an entirely amicable arrangement can be reached from the outset. Unfortunately that is not always the case and couples must find a way to resolve their differences. Collaborative practice is designed to focus on resolution and minimize conflict. Separating couples and their lawyers agree to make a good faith attempt to reach a mutually acceptable settlement without going to Court. Together they work to co-operatively address everyone's legal, financial and emotional needs.

The advantages of the collaborative law process

  • You keep control of the divorce process;
  • You avoid going to court;
  • Children's needs are given priority;
  • The solution fits you, not one size fits all;
  • To preserve and assist your ongoing harmonious relationship;
  • A fair settlement promoting your needs, interests and objectives.

How it works

Both parties have an initial meeting with their respective lawyers to obtain advice regarding the collaborative process and to identify the issues that are important to them. The parties and their lawyers then come together in four-way meetings (you, your spouse/partner and each of your lawyers) to reach a settlement. In these four way meetings the parties put their "cards on the table" and all issues are discussed in an open non-confrontational manner. The lawyers support the negotiations by providing the parties with not only the structure to facilitate agreement but also with the benefit of their skills, advice and support. With this assistance, in an atmosphere of openness and honesty, couples can communicate their respective needs and work towards securing their future.
The collaborative process involves where appropriate other professionals such as accountants, financial advisors and counsellors providing specialised professional advice to assist any financial, emotional or other isssues which may arise in the process.

The Participation Agreement / Collaborative Contract

To start off the process the parties and both collaborative lawyers sign a Participation Agreement, also own and a collaborative contract, which requires the parties to:-
  • Exchange complete financial information so that they can make well informed decisions;
  • Maintain absolute confidentiality throughout the process enabling one another to express frankly their needs and concerns;
  • Reach written Agreement on all issues and concerns without the threat of Court proceedings;
  • Formalise and carry out the agreement reached with the appropriate documentation.

Is my case suitable for collaborative practice?

Not all matters are suitable for resolution through collaborative practice
Collaborative practice may be an appropriate option for you if you and your spouse:
  • 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 family.
  • Understand and embrace the necessity to make full and frank disclosure about financial issues.
Collaborative practice will not be the right option for you if:
  • Your primary aim is to seek revenge against your former spouse or partner.
  • You are looking for a "soft option"
  • You think the procedure will enable you to pressure your spouse or partner to agree to your wishes.
  • You want to avoid giving certain financial information to your spouse or partner.
  • Where there has been a history of domestic violence or any form of abuse, the lawyers will first have to determine whether collaborative law 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.
Queenland Collaborative Law describes itself as follows:

ABOUT QUEENSLAND COLLABORATIVE LAW

Queensland Collaborative Law was established in 2006 following the success of the process in the United States and the United Kingdom. Queensland Collaborative Law was established to:
  • Promote the collaborative practice in Queensland;
  • Educate and promote collaborative practice to the public at large;
  • Bring together professionals from differing disciplines who share the same commitment to the collaborative process;
  • Provide for the establishment and development of practice groups to promote and encourage networking and support amongst collaborative professionals;
  • Allow a forum for entry level and advanced training and ongoing professional development;
  • Make available to members and other professionals the highest standard of recognised traininers from the national and international arena;
  • Provide members with access to precedents, research, and other practical tools to assist in the “doing” of collaborative practice.
Queensland Collaborative Law adopts the standards for collaborative practitioners as set out by the peak international body for collaborative law; the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).

If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help you, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover is Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bayand is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.  Adam served on the taskforce that drafted the Hillsborough County collaborative family practice administrative order signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez.



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Adam B. Cordover is a collaborative family law attorney and managing shareholder of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. To learn more about The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. or to schedule a consultation, call us at 813.443.0615 or visit us online at www.abcfamilylaw.com.

 Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, FL 33602.

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