Find answers to some of the most common questions about collaborative practice. If you want to find a collaborative professional, you can search for one here. Alternatively, you can contact AACP at this link.
What is collaborative practice?
Collaborative practice is a way of solving disputes outside of courts. It uses a team of professionals (which may include lawyers, finance professionals, child advocates and psychologists) to come to the best solution for all parties involved. Instead of treating separation as a conflict, collaborative practice enables you and your partner to resolve issues in a non-adversarial environment.
How can collaborative practice help me? How can it help my children?
Collaborative practice respects the needs of all parties. By working with a variety of professionals, which may include coaches, psychologists and child advocates, your views will be considered in a holistic manner. Taking the proceedings out of the courts fosters open communication and minimises conflict, which removes some of the stress from a difficult time. The non-adversarial nature of collaborative practice enables you to maintain a better relationship with your former partner. This makes it easier to work with them as you make arrangement for your children. It will minimise the stress they experience as a result of the separation. Furthermore, if you are concerned about your children’s wellbeing throughout the process of divorce, a child specialist or psychologist can join the collaborative team to advocate for their interests.
How is collaborative practice different from using a mediator?
When a dispute between partners goes to mediation, a third party (the mediator) helps negotiate a settlement. However, the mediator cannot provide legal advice. In disputes settled by collaborative practice, both parties are supported by lawyers and other professionals.
How do I know my case won’t just go to court anyway?
When you agree to solve disputes by Collaborative Practice, you and your spouse sign an agreement in which you agree not to take the case to court. Therefore, one side cannot threaten the other with court proceedings. If you are unable to reach an agreement and decide to take your case to court, your lawyers must withdraw from the case and the collaborative practice is brought to an end.
Is my case suitable for Collaborative Practice?
Collaborative Practice is suitable for cases where both partners are invested in solving the dispute in way that minimises conflict, where both parties are can discuss their needs in an open manner. However, there are some cases where collaborative practice is not suitable. If one party does not want to disclose information, or wants to use the process to pressure the other into agreeing to their terms, they should not pursue collaborative practice. If there has been a history of abuse or domestic violence, collaborative practice may not be appropriate. A lawyer may be needed to determine if it can or should be used, and to ensure that your interests are protected.
Where can I find someone to talk to about collaborative practice?
You can find a professional trained in collaborative practice here (inc a button to the Find a Collaborative Practitioner Page). They will be able to talk to you more about Collaborative Practice, and help you to start on your journey.