The introduction of collaborative family law in Australia in 2006 saw a significant shift away from the more traditional court-based approach to divorce.  Couples who preferred to retain control of the decision-making process began to use the collaborative method with great success, avoiding the need to involve the Court in their divorce and in many cases, saving considerable time and money.

The practice has been steadily growing in popularity and now, in 2015, it seems more popular than ever.  The Principal of Rafton Family Lawyers, Kate Rafton, was one of the first lawyers in the region to be specifically trained in the collaborative method and has been offering this process as an alternative to court-based divorce for a number of years.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

The main focus of the collaborative approach is on the ability of a couple to reach an agreement concerning their individual situation themselves, while utilising the assistance of experts in various fields as required.

Financial advisers, counsellors, child specialists, lawyers and divorce coaches are often called upon to provide advice, expert opinion and guidance through the negotiation process. This multi-disciplinary approach equips couples with the information, knowledge and support required to resolve their disputes fairly and without the intervention of a court.


Separating couples can experience many benefits by using collaborative law.  Some of these will include:

  • Having each party, and their respective lawyers, present for negotiations ensures transparency and encourages communication
  • The individuals involved retain control of the process and are fully involved in the decision-making process and resolution of any disputes
  • The process is completely private and confidential
  • The multi-disciplinary nature of collaborative law provides access to a range of independent experts who can be called on to resolve difficult issues
  • Divorce coaches can be used to help facilitate the discussions when necessary.  Divorce coaches are mental health professionals who can be present throughout the collaborative process to guide couples through their negotiations and help to ensure communication remains positive and forward-moving.
  • The non-adversarial nature of the approach is highly beneficial when children are involved- reducing the potential trauma of the court-based approach for them
  • The collaborative approach can reduce the time taken to resolve family law disputes and the cost, as well as significantly reducing the load placed on the Family Court system.

For more information on collaborative family law, and to find out whether it may be appropriate in your situation, contact Kate Rafton on ph: 1300 4 FAMILY.