The Collaborative Law Process: What Is It And How Is it Different to Mediation?

If you’re looking to resolve a dispute without the hassle or financial burden of going to court, there are a couple of solutions for you to consider, one being Collaborative Law. The collaborative law process can be compared to another dispute resolution practice, Mediation. We’ve previously spoken about the family mediation process, so, here’s everything you need to know about collaborative law and how it differs.


What is the Collaborative Process?

Collaborative law is a dispute resolution process which allows both parties involved and their lawyers to enter into a contract (the “Participation Agreement”) to finalise any legal aspects of their separation or divorce without attending court. The process uses an interest-based negotiation model where the parties and their lawyers collaborate to find a mutually beneficial decision based on the interests of the disputants. These interest could be any needs, goals, concerns and fears.


What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Law?

Apart from avoiding the need to attend court, there are several other benefits to the collaborative law process.

Both parties are permitted to have their lawyer present at every stage of the process. A lawyer by your side can offer both legal advice and emotional support.

Attending court can be expensive and time-consuming. What collaborative law does is offer a lower cost process and a faster agreement time. Both parties can set their own time frame for settling their dispute. Unlike the court process, there are no set dates.

All negotiations are private and confidential and either take place in one of the collaborative lawyer’s offices or another neutral location.


How is it Different to Mediation?

The collaborative law process may still sound similar to mediation, but they do have one major difference; lawyer participation.

In mediation, the third party (or mediator) must remain impartial and offer no advice while both parties work to make decisions and resolve any issues. A mediator may work with the couple to establish their needs or provide general legal knowledge, but they must not favour one party over the other or offer a legal opinion.

A collaborative lawyer, on the other hand, is not a neutral party, but rather an advocate for their client. The purpose of collaborative law may be to work together to find a mutually satisfactory agreement, however, the primary duty of each lawyer is to focus on their client’s goals and interests.


Is the Collaborative Law Process For You?

So, is collaborative law for you?

Mediation is best suited to those who feel they can advocate for themselves and are prepared to sit down with only their former spouse and a neutral third party. They must also have a manageable level of emotion and conflict, and the ability to work with their former partner to make decisions.

Collaborative law, on the other hand, is best suited to those who need and prefer the guidance of a lawyer. As the lawyers’ purpose is to have their client’s best interests at heart, this process will be best for those who don’t feel competent enough to negotiate any financial issues or children-related issues by themselves.


Speak to Our Lawyers About the Collaborative Law Process

Does the collaborative law process sound like the right choice for you and your situation? Our lawyers can work with you to discuss your personal matter and offer legal advice and representation during your collaborative process.