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What to expect from the Collaborative Family Law Process
If you are separating, separated or divorced and wish to resolve your financial and children’s issues with your former spouse or partner, demonstrate to your children that you have their best interests in mind and that you respect their other parent, then undertaking Collaborative Practice may be the appropriate way ahead. It is an innovative process that allows you to consult with interdisciplinary collaborative practitioners to finalise these family law issues in a respectful way that meets your family’s needs.
If you elect to proceed using this process you and your spouse or partner will each have a collaborative law practitioner acting on your behalf. The process will include you both signing a Participation Agreement together with your lawyers that, among other things, is an agreement that you will use the collaborative law process to assist you to an agreed outcome, and you will not threaten or initiate court proceedings. The process has evolved since 1985 and has assisted countless parents to remain on speaking terms long after their separation and divorce which is one reason why clients are attracted to Collaborative Law and the process has been successful in many countries worldwide.
It is always advisable to have a Coach/ Facilitator for the process who may be a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner or Mediator qualified to teach you and your spouse or partner ways to communicate with each other now and in the future. During settlement meetings the Coach/Facilitator, who is neutral, is the person who generally keeps each party feeling safe and heard during the process and guides the parties with assistance from the lawyers or other professionals to find a workable resolution. The collaborative process may also involve a Financial Planner and/or a Child Consultant or other professionals who are collaboratively trained and are available where issues arise that requires their expertise.
Ioanita Gentles is a practising Collaborative Family Lawyer and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Collaborative Professionals NSW.
If you would like to find out whether you could use Collaborative Practice and reap the benefits of a non-adversarial system that ensures that each person is active in working out solutions to suit their family’s needs and requirements with the help of interdisciplinary collaboratively trained professionals then –
I am very grateful to Ioanita and her team who have supported me and taken the time to assist me in my parenting and property settlement resolved in the collaborative process. I was looking for a better and less expensive option than court after hearing stories from friends about their court costs over $100k and the process which can turn quite nasty. I believe the collaborative process with Ioanita as the collaborative lawyer was the best way forward for our family as I wanted to remain on good speaking terms with the father of my children.
I have recently had our Consent Orders sealed in the Family Court and I couldn’t be happier. My children are happy that their parents went through a non-adversarial process and they had a chance to voice their opinions to the Child Consultant and Coach in our matter, Ms Rebecca Burnett-Smith, of Dee Why.
Ioanita and Rebecca were professional, compassionate and both worked tirelessly to assist me whilst I was in a very stressful and difficult separation as my ex -husband and I were living under the same roof.
I have no hesitation in recommending Ioanita and her team as excellent professionals dedicated to a more civil way of resolving property and parenting matters without going to Court.
Paula, May 2016 – North Manly – Divorce matter
I would like to thank Ioanita for her patience, understanding, persistence and excellent professional work on my separation case. From the very first meeting, I felt comfortable and listened to and very clear of the collaborative process that was just about to start. Ioanita showed much empathy and respect during a very difficult and stressful time, and for that I will be forever grateful.
I have no hesitation in referring Ioanita Gentles and her team, and would like to wish them all best wishes for the future.
Jenni, May 2016 – Divorce matter
I found Ioanita Gentles simply by walking past her office one day at a point in my life when I needed a family lawyer, and I am so pleased that I did. From that very first meeting I knew that Ioanita would be exactly the kind of lawyer I needed to work with – kind when I needed kindness, strong when I needed strength and knowledgeable when I was completely lost in the divorce process. I never felt that she was anything other than supportive of my needs and concerns.
Ioanita is a specialist in Collaborative Family law, and on her recommendation my husband and I decided we would try the process to see if we could get through our divorce amicably. Overall this was extremely successful and I would definitely suggest that anyone going through a divorce consider the collaborative route – it is quicker, it is cheaper and it encourages the couple to remain civil despite the tense emotions that inevitably come into play during a divorce.
Liz, April 2016 – Balgowlah Heights – Divorce matter