It is essential that both of you appoint collaboratively trained lawyers.

You will need to discuss with your own lawyer the different options and processes available to resolve the concerns that you and your partner have and decide whether collaborative practice is right for you - click here for more information.

If you decide that Collaborative Practice is the right path for you:-

What can you expect to happen next?

  • You and your partner will each meet with your own lawyer to talk about what to expect in the collaborative meetings, usually referred to as 'four-way' meetings because they are meetings between the four of you - you, your partner and your respective lawyers. You and your lawyer will discuss what you both need to do to prepare for the first 'four way' meeting.
  • Your lawyer will also discuss with you the “ground rules” for the meetings, the need for you and your partner (and your respective lawyers) to 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.
  • Your lawyer will also discuss with you any urgent issues that may need to be addressed.
  • Both lawyers will speak to each other to plan your first meeting.

The first four way meeting:

  • At the first four-way meeting the lawyers will make sure that you both understand that you are making a commitment to working out an agreement without going to court and you, your partner and your lawyers will sign a Participation Agreement that sets this out.
  • You and your partner will be invited to share your own objectives in choosing this process and you will all plan the agenda for the next meeting. This will depend on your own individual circumstances but might typically include a discussion about how the children are responding to the separation.
  • You may also go on to discuss how financial information will be shared and agree on who will bring what financial information to the next meeting.

Subsequent four way meetings:

  • Subsequent meetings will deal with you and your partner’s particular priorities and concerns.
  • All meetings are minuted and action points for future meetings agreed. Where appropriate, you will be encouraged to draw on the skills of other specialist advisers, such as accountants to assist with financial disclosure, or counsellors to discuss any matters which may have arisen in relation to the care of children.
  • In the meetings you will try to reach agreement on how the finances will be shared or what arrangements need to be made for any children.
  • You might also look at involving other professionals such as accountants, specialists in financial planning, counsellors and people trained to assist children in understanding and coping with the changes that your divorce or separation will bring to their lives.

The final meeting:

  • Once agreement has been reached the lawyers will draw up documents to make the agreement legally binding.
  • In the final meeting, documents detailing the agreements you have reached will be signed and your lawyers will explain anything else that needs to be done in order to fulfill those agreements. Sometimes a firm timetable for implementation will not be possible, for instance, if the family house needs to be sold.

To learn more about how Collaborative Practice process works click here

To view a video which reviews the collaborative process from both the clients' point of view, along with commentary from Stu Webb, the founder of Collaborative Law and Ron Ousky”  click here


Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice

The Collaborative Practice Process

ABC Interview: Nicer Ways To Break Up with Sue Abrams and Bernie Bolger

Note: Discussion on collaborative practice starts at 16.52