Without Going to Court
Written by Marie Fedorov
If you’re one of the 100,000 Australians opting for divorce every year*, you may be feeling stressed and anxious now that your relationship has ended. Although you may know what you want and are experiencing mixed emotions about this turning point in your life, it is important for you to take some time for yourself to do what is right. Sometimes you need to be alone to prioritise yourself and your children.
Divorce can be painful, emotionally draining, and expensive, but it can also represent a time of new beginnings. Use this time to reflect on what you want in life and how you can be the best version of yourself for you and the people in your life.
Couples about to divorce can unburden themselves from the stress of separation by avoiding Court through two unique ways.
Collaborative Law is an innovative way to resolve family law disputes respectfully, without going to Court – so essentially it is an approach that helps divorcing couples move ahead with their lives without actually ‘litigating’.
Collaborative Law offers separating couples a way to resolve issues about parenting arrangements and property settlements outside of the Court process. Each party has the advantage of having their own lawyer assist them in four-way meetings (i.e. the lawyers and parties meet together). The meetings and the matters discussed in those meetings are completely open with the parties, where they undertake to co-operate, share information and work together towards a mutually agreeable settlement with the assistance of their lawyers.
The core elements arise from a participation agreement or collaborative contract which the parties and the lawyers all sign at the first collaborative four-way meeting.
The collaborative contract provides that everyone will work towards reaching an agreement and will transparently participate in the process in good faith.
The agreement provides that the lawyers will not be able to continue to act for their clients if the process fails. The downside for the parties is that if one of them elects to go to Court or the process fails for other reasons, then they will have to invest in more time and expense to engage new lawyers and obtain other expert reports. The lawyers are therefore focused on helping the parties reach an agreement and to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having Courts make a ruling on different issues.
Most importantly divorcing parties need to engage a Collaborative Lawyer. Collaborative Lawyers will have received special training.
Talk to your partner/spouse about Collaborative Law and encourage them to see the advantages for their family.
Life is too short to go to Court! The best way forward is for divorcing parties to discuss Collaborative Law and then simply meet with a qualified Collaborative Lawyer to get the process started.
In addition, family mediation (also known as divorce mediation or family dispute resolution) assists separated and divorced couples through this difficult stage in their lives. It is a practical and low-cost way for separating families to sort things out with professional help – without having to go to Court!
It is a way to avoid the heartbreak and financial stress caused by separation and divorce. Mediators can help you reach a compromise with your former partner on the division of assets and liabilities, without eroding your property pool with expensive legal fees. In addition, couples can settle their parenting property disputes quickly and easily.
Although you know that taking this step in your life is the right thing to do, it is certainly not an easy decision to make, especially when you have more than just yourself to worry about. Along with yourself you may be worried about the custody of your children and how the assets you’ve accumulated will be divided amongst you and your ex. On top of all of these worries you still have to perform well at your job and be a supportive parent to your children.
Alleviating any additional stress is the best way to ensure that you are able to move forward and close this chapter of your life. Prior to going through a divorce or separation it is important that you do you research and find the most stress-free option for yourself and your family. Going through a divorce or separation, can be a traumatic experience for all of the parties involved. It is important to consider how this situation will impact your children. Avoiding Court may be the best option for you and your ex to avoid unnecessary large legal bills and maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of your children.
Knowing what you want and being strategic about how you go about attaining it go hand-in-hand. Don’t let this small chapter of your life negatively impact your story. Make the right decision for you and your children.
This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is always important to seek professional legal advice.