The opportunity and challenge of interdisciplinary collaborative process as a dispute resolution process for families

Family law and post separation
Wednesday 25 July, 1440 – 1500


Jackie Jones
Collaborative Lawyer

David Roberts
Relationships Australia

The introduction of the Family Law Act offered a revolutionary approach to resolving family law disputes. By putting children’s wellbeing at the forefront of separation, it recognised that family breakdown is not primarily a legal problem. Since commencement of the Act there have been repeated calls to continue to evolve a more integrated system, to acknowledge and address the diverse needs of Australian families and to offer a multidisciplinary approach.
As a dispute resolution process, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice (ICP) offers the opportunity for families going through relationship breakdown to access the professionals who best suit their needs. ICP is the only dispute resolution process to offer a flexible holistic team response to family breakdown. At its heart, ICP recognises the need for families to be given the assistance of professionals from differing disciplines including child consultants, psychologists, financial planners or accountants, and lawyers, to resolve their own dispute without the need for court.

This presentation offers insights into the development of ICP from members of two different groups: first, the Central Sydney Collaborative Forum which originated with collaborative lawyers, and second, the Relationships Australia ICP program which originated in a not-for-profit organisation through mediators.
This presentation will focus on key challenges to developing and implementing ICP, particularly the challenges of building an effective team when bringing together professionals from different disciplines. Issues and concerns arise relating to professional obligations, confidentiality, ethics, dealing with cases involving domestic violence and various practical matters from file ownership to professional reflection.