04 January 2016

How to Separate Amicably and Control the Process Yourself

Are you separating?  Do you know someone who is?  Discussing and agreeing on important matters such as who the children should live with, who will retain the home and whether the superannuation should be split, is a crucial step in the process. What most people don’t know is that this critical step in the process of separating is one the parties themselves (not lawyers) can control.  How, you ask? The answer is – collaborative law.

What is collaborative law?

Collaborative law is a form of dispute resolution which involves the parties setting an agenda of matters they wish to resolve, and working through them together in a series of meetings, assisted by collaborative law trained professionals.  The parties control the process, and work together to come up with solutions to meet their needs and the needs of their children.  This process is undertaken without the threat of litigation hanging over either party’s head.

Collaborative law trained professionals involved in the process include each of the parties’ lawyers, and if required, an accountant, financial advisers or psychologist.

This model of dispute resolution can be utilised by married, de facto or same-sex couples when separating, or by people entering into a relationship who wish to have a financial agreement (often referred to as a “pre-nup”) prepared.

Why chose collaborative law over negotiation and mediation?

Collaborative law is a process driven by the parties themselves in which they brainstorm together, solutions to such issues as how to divide their matrimonial or de facto pool of assets.  This process allows separating couples to discuss their concerns as well as the legal, financial and other issues in order to come up with a settlement that meets the needs of both of them.  The collaborative law process focuses on resolving family law disputes with minimal conflict.

The process is unlike negotiations, mediation or litigation in court, in which each party puts forward competing proposals and there is often a high level of conflict and stress.

Does Miller Harris Lawyers have collaborative law trained professionals who can assist?

Yes. Miller Harris Lawyers have two family lawyers who are collaborative law trained professionals – Michael Keogh, Partner, and Julie Hodge, Senior Associate.

For more information about collaborative law or if you wish to discuss the suitability of this process for your separation or for someone you know, please contact Julie Hodge, Senior Associate on 07 4036 9706 or by email at

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