collaborative law is a process that enables both parties to resolve a dispute respectfully, without court

It is an alternative dispute resolution process that aims to minimise costs, delay and trauma associated with separation. This process can include resolving both parenting and financial issues.

In order for the collaborative process to be used both parties must agree to participate. The lawyers must also agree that your dispute is one that is capable of being resolved through the collaborative process.

As lawyers specialising in collaborative law we have extensive experience and training in:

  • Using a cooperative approach to identify issues and information that parties need to make an informed decision.
  • Helping each party to focus on solutions that consider both partners’ interests and needs, while taking into account legal rights.
  • allowing parties to speak openly and honestly with each other about their concerns with any proposal for resolution.
  • aiming for solutions that assist to preserve the parental relationship.

In a collaborative process at the outset we agree in writing with the other solicitors not to go to court. As a result, we are committed to helping you reach a settlement if at all possible.

However, neither party loses any rights by attempting to resolve the dispute collaboratively. If a matter is not able to be resolved collaboratively then either party is free to commence proceedings in court in the traditional adversarial process.

Once both parties have agreed to use the collaborative process:

  • The first step is for the parties to meet with their lawyers individually to identify the issues that need to be resolved.
  • What follows is a number of meetings involving both parties and their lawyers with the aim of working together to find a solution that is mutually acceptable, fair and legally justified. Sometimes it may be appropriate for accountants or valuers to be involved at these meetings to ensure that the parties have accurate information to work with.
  • Once an agreement is reached binding formal documents are prepared to set out the details of the agreement and put it into effect.

Our whole aim is to try to limit the trauma, expense and time involved in sorting out very important legal issues at an incredibly challenging time of people’s lives.

initial consultation.

In order to give you the best legal advice, we need to hear your story. We realise it is important that you feel comfortable sharing your story. We are happy to meet with you at a place and time suitable for you. We can meet face to face, by Skype or telephone. There will be no charge for the initial consultation if you decide not to proceed with a claim.



If after our initial consultation we believe we can assist you on a collaborative basis, we will discuss a fee structure with you.

Generally, this will involve a discussion with the other collaborative lawyer to ascertain an agreed estimate of the work that will be involved in your matter.

Donaldson Law will not charge you expenses for telephone calls or other administration expenses.

support services.

We encourage you to talk to and rely on the support of family, friends and professional services.