Collaborative Practice in Australia
A large portion of marriages in Australia end in divorce. The proportion of divorces involving children is 48.8% (Australian Bureau of Statistics). The breakdown in de facto and same sex relationships is possibly greater than the breakdown in marriages. The divorce passage is far from easy for those people. Until recently unless parties could agree or resolve their conflict by way of mediation the only resource open to reach a determination of any conflict arising from a breakdown in a relationship was by way of litigation in the Family Court.
The divorce passage is far from easy for most people. In many cases the emotional trauma of a breakdown in a relationship was only second to that of the death of a loved family member or spouse.
Divorce requires unusual emotional resources from parties at a time when they typically are experiencing high levels of stress and lowered coping ability. Moreover, parties are expected to make financial and parenting decisions of enormous importance for the future wellbeing of themselves, their families and their children at a time when strong emotions often impair their ability to make sound judgments.
In the 1990s a new way of resolving such conflict emerged in the United States of America. It became known as collaborative practice. Since its emergence collaborative practice has been a rapidly growing family law practice throughout America, Canada, Europe and now Australia.
There are some helpful videos on our website which provide information on collaborative practice and how it works. These videos were produced by the International Academy of Collaborative Practice Professionals an organisation which was formed and includes membership of family law practitioners throughout the countries in which collaborative practice has gained prominence.
Stuart Webb a family lawyer in Minneapolis in the United States is represented in one of the videos. He did develop the principles of collaborative practice in the 1990s. He became disillusioned with the practice of family law in the court system and decided that he would represent his clients only pursuant to a binding agreement that neither he nor the lawyers representing the parties would go to court for their clients. His sole purpose was to ensure that his client and his client’s partner were able to reach an efficient and respectful and interest-based resolution on matters resulting from a breakdown in their relationship.
The videos provide helpful information in relation to collaborative practice. They were produced in America and have American characteristics. However they give a good overview of collaborative practice in Australia. I hope you find they are of interest to you.
Watch This Video Discussing Collaborative Practice: