Family Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer, Slater & Gordon Lawyers:
There are in fact very few negatives to the collaborative law process and that practitioners should have the courage to move away from a traditional lawyer approach. The auhor establishes the context for discussion by questioning why collaborative law is so underused when divorce rates are statistically rising. She continues by examining the factors that are causing collaborative law to be underused. Common concerns include the amount of time involved in proceeding with the collaborative process, the cost implications and that it is a 'touchy-feely' and holistic approach that is inappropriate for a separating couple. Another important factor contributing to issue is the large number of alternatives available.
The article cites research claiming that there is extensive support for collaborative law among solicitors and that parties feel they control the pace of proceedings. Other advantages including enabling emotional issues between the parties to be resolved, the access to additional emotional support, and the augmented perception by clients that their lawyers are a source of strength as a safety net - giving them to the confidence to engage in balanced discussions.
The full version of this article appears in the May 2013 issue of Family Law.