Sarah Bevan is trained in collaborative law, and she recognises the value of the collaborative process where it is appropriate for the individual case. She is a member of both Collaborative Professionals (NSW) Inc. and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers is a member firm of the collaborative lawyers practice group, Western Sydney Collaborative Family Lawyers.
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is different from the traditional adversarial approach to family law. In the collaborative process, the clients and their lawyers agree to work together to find a solution and promise not to resort to court.
Collaborative law has been practised in the USA and Canada since the early 1990s and more recently in UK, Ireland and Europe. It was only recently introduced in Australia, and it is now rapidly expanding in NSW.
How does it work?
First we need to assess whether the collaborative process is suitable to you and your case. It is not suitable for everyone. We can assess this at your first, or sometimes, second meeting.
You and your former partner will both need to agree to use the collaborative process and you will both need to engage lawyers who are trained in collaborative law. We can provide your former partner with details of other collaboratively trained lawyers to assist getting your case started in the collaborative process.
To start the process, you, your former partner and both lawyers will all sign a Participation Agreement setting out the ground rules for the collaborative process. This Agreement will also disqualify the lawyers from continuing to represent their client if either party commences court proceedings.
The foundation of the collaborative process is an understanding that you, your former partner and your lawyers, will act in good faith, be open and honest in your dealings with one another and respect the fact that different views will need to be expressed to achieve a fair settlement.
Most of the process is done at "four-way" face-to-face meetings between you, your partner and the lawyers.
Why can't we go to court?
One of the cornerstones of collaborative law is that parties agree not to go to court and cannot use the threat of going to court as a means of coercing the other party to agree to or to accept a position.
Is it right for me?
Discuss this with us. We can use our experience to assess whether it is right for you. If you want to resolve your family law issues in a respectful and dignified manner, where you retain control of your decisions then it may be right for you.
How can I get more information?
Speak to us, and you can find some other information on our Resources page.
Collaborative Divorce - A Safe Place
"Collaborative Divorce - A Safe Place" is a twenty minute film published by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals following the true life story of one couple.
The video features actual participants and through their meetings with collaborative professionals.