What role do neutrals and experts play in collaborative practice?

Here at Dispute Resolution Centre Australia, we are very proud of our community network of professionals that we use to provide holistic solutions for our clients working to resolve their problems. In particular, when we engage with the alternative dispute resolution process of ‘collaborative practice’ the role of these professionals is key to creating the best agreement possible.

In collaborative practice, the term ‘neutral’ is used to refer to a professional in a particular area that doesn’t have attachments to either side in the dispute. Because they don’t have connections either way, their role is to provide guidance and advice in their area of expertise to help both sides come to the best possible solution.

Financial Neutrals

One of the most common types of neutral, is a ‘financial neutral’. This is typically someone who has been trained in dispute resolution as well as an understanding of finance and banking options. This includes people like accountants, property valuers and business coaches. By utilizing their industry knowledge they can provide clarity to your case by crunching numbers, talking you through practical steps like opening and closing bank accounts, and providing another source of evidence on financial matters associated with your problem at hand. By going straight to a professional, a lot of the confusion around issues of money can be avoided and both parties can be on an even playing field when it comes to understanding financial concerns.


Collaborative practice can be a helpful dispute resolution technique is a whole range of areas, therefore it is understandable that not everyone involved in these issues is necessarily experienced in that area. By engaging with neutrals who are coaches in fields like business, family and communication, both sides are able to obtain unbiased and productive advice that can support them moving forward in that area.

Mental Health and Family Counselling Support

Other types of neutrals may include professionals like child specialists, family counsellors and mental health professionals. In cases of family law, this specialised focus will be able to help you identify and develop strategies that are ultimately in the best interests of your child. At the end of a collaborative practice meeting, this can help lead to more durable and robust parenting plans that can work for your individual family circumstances across an array of circumstances. By being able to refocus family disputes from legal questions to a more holistic approach, these neutrals in collaborative practice can have an impressive impact on your dispute.

Similarly, opinions offered by psychologists and other mental health professionals can help create healthier and more positive environments, both during the collaboration and in your agreement moving forward after your dispute.

The beauty of having experts and neutrals assist in your collaborative practice resolution is that you can draw on a wealth of experience and knowledge, creating a more time efficient, cost effective and stress-free process for all involved.

If engaging neutrals in your dispute is of interest to you, contact us here at Dispute Resolution Centre Australia today and we can help find what’s right for you.

Written by Cassandra Kalpaxis.


Family Law Mediator