Separation without Court?
Marguerite Picard Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer
Hello, I’m Marguerite. I’m a Hawthorn-Camberwell based Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator who specialises in helping those thinking about separation, and in helping couples who have decided to separate or divorce to do so as amicably as possible, and without going to court.
I understand that telling your story is an important first step when you are seeking help at a really difficult time in your life. My approach is to listen to you, first and foremost. Listening to you allows me to understand how I can help you, which is different for each person I meet.
If you are thinking about separating, or that decision has been made, I offer or refer you to the support you need. In coming to see me if you are merely thinking about separation, all options remain open to you. You can safely ask for legal information or referral for counselling support, financial planning advice, or a child specialist’s advice without there being any expectation by me that separation is necessarily the path you will follow.
If there is to be a separation, I believe that interdisciplinary collaborative practice is the gold standard in supporting you emotionally, and in facilitating the practical agreements that you need. My many years of work in family separation have led me to believe that harnessing co-operation between spouses, and embracing the skills of non-lawyers works best for parents, children and couples.
This belief lead me to co-found the Melbourne Collaborative Alliance (MCA) where my practice is located. MCA is based on recognizing that separation is more of an emotional crisis than a legal problem. It is a world-first organization which takes care of whole families, facilitates agreements and resolves conflict by working in interdisciplinary collaborative practice. Consistent with those ideals, litigation is not part of my practice.
If collaborative practice is not for you or your spouse, you may choose mediation or an alternative way of co-operatively working towards agreements.
I invite you to call my office for an appointment with me-whether you are thinking about separation, there is a joint decision to separate, it has been decided for you, or you have made that decision.
How does collaboration work?
Collaborative practice offers a fresh approach to resolving the issues that arise out of a relationship breakdown. Collaborative practice is based on the principle of helping people reach the best possible outcome for everyone in the family; it is not about ‘winning’.
In a collaboration, both you and your spouse, with your independent lawyers, a psychologist and a financial adviser work together to find agreed solutions to whatever financial or child-related issues and concerns you have, without involving the Court.
This team approach means that each of the professionals is doing what they do best, and your whole family benefits from that.
Collaboration recognises that the best people to make decisions for your family after separation are you and your partner. But it also recgonises that you are likely to need help with that.
Learn more about collaborative practice