Some time ago on the Family Law Centre Fraser Coast site we published the story of Dave and his property settlement. Dave’s story was a cautionary tale of what can happen when there is a relationship break down – so if you want you can re-visit Dave and his story here.
Relationship break downs are for the most part not very pleasant – if nothing else they are about failure and the recognition that it’s time to move on.
What Dave’s story is about is that there is a better way. It’s not necessary to have conflict, angst, emotional upset and it’s not necessary to spend unnecessary dollars when there is a better way.
I know that if Dave had his time over again he would have taken the collaborative approach to his property settlement.
So, what is the collaborative approach about?
First, both parties need to agree to engage in the collaborative approach.
The collaborative approach is based on both parties agreeing to treat each other with respect – if this doesn’t happen, then that is the end of the process. Mutual respect for each other underpins the process. We know that as advocates of the collaborative approach, you and your partner loved each other during your relationship and if there are children then they were conceived in love.
If there are children and they are of young ages, then both you and your partner will have in mind a long-term arrangement caring for the children so it’s important that things are kept on an even keel from the very beginning.
Other elements of the approach are –
- The decision making is left to the parties
- The decision making process is not left to a Court
- Control of the decision making process is not lost but retained by the parties
- Each party has free access to and is expected to make a contribution to the process
- Each party is free to contribute to and negotiate an outcome which is fair and reasonable
- The process avoids the lengthy delays which occur in the Court process
- The legal costs are usually reduced significantly
With all the emotional turmoil usually connected with a partnership break down there is no need to add further layers of stress and emotional upset.
The collaborative approach gives you another option – an option for a speedy outcome and a less costly exercise not to mention significantly less emotional stress.