Collaborative Practice

Rebecca is trained in Collaborative Family Law Practice. Collaborative Practice is a mediation process which involves the two parties, their lawyers and a family coach all working together as a team to achieve the best possible outcome for the family as a whole.

The advantage of Collaborative Practice is that parents can work out their parenting and property matters in one forum. The process is cost and time effective. In addition, parents are assisted in developing positive communication skills and a cooperative parental alliance for the future.

In Collaborative Practice, each party is represented by his or her lawyer. Each lawyer provides their client with expert legal advice, but they also work openly and cooperatively with the other party and the other lawyer involved, to achieve an amicable outcome.

Discussions take place in 5-way meetings with both parties, both lawyers and a family coach. The family coach is a neutral third party who establishes a safe environment, guides the communication, and keeps everyone focused on the present and future needs of the family. Where appropriate, the children may also be seen by a child consultant and the parents may also seek recommendations from a financial planner.
The process usually takes 3 or 4 sessions to reach settlement and orders are subsequently drafted.

In collaborative practice, the parties sign an agreement at the beginning of the process which stipulates that (a) information is shared openly within the team, and (b) the lawyers have to withdraw if agreement is not reached. This provides great incentive on all sides to reach agreement.
Rebecca is a member of the Northern Beaches Collaborative Practice group. She takes on the role of family coach, case-coordinator and child consultant (when appropriate).

The other collaboratively-trained family lawyers in the group include:
·         Mary Bova of Marks Griffith and Bova
·         Ioanita Gentles of Gentles Family Law
·         Sharon Moss and Nicola Benbow of Sharon Moss Lawyers
·         Michael Shipton and Janet Scott of Shipton & Associates
·         Natasha Scarf of E & A Lawyers
 
If you are interested in finding out more, or finding out if your matter is suitable for collaborative practice, contact Rebecca for an initial discussion.