Collaborative Professionals Northern Beaches

A successful dispute resolution method which is out of court and under your control

Lawyer Members

Ioanita Gentles 

Ioanita Gentles is the firm’s Principal Solicitor and Director. With over 29 years as a Solicitor and Barrister, Ioanita has spent her career helping clients to get the best results with their family law issues, minimising legal costs and giving sound advice.

Ioanita is naturally approachable, compassionate and discreet. She will identify your rights and possible strategies to enable you to make decisions for you and your family’s future.

Ioanita is a founding member of the practice group and served as the President for it’s first 4 years. She is now volunteering as a board member to support Manly Mermaids women’s rugby. She much enjoys working in the collaborative family law process with people who wish to resolve property and parenting matters respecting the other party and family values.

Gentles Family Lawyers

Unit 9/14 Eustace Street

Manly NSW 2095

Tel: (02) 8319 7498

Email: [email protected]


Helen Ede, Ede Family Law

Helen is an accredited specialist in family law with more than 20 years’ experience in law. Having worked in CBD firms for most of that period, she is now the principal of Ede Family Law, based in North Sydney and servicing the Northern Beaches and the CBD. Over many years Helen has developed extensive expertise in resolving disputes for separating families, including mediation, and since 2011, collaborative law.

Helen is committed to achieving the best outcomes for her clients, combining technical excellence with pragmatism and insight, and understanding the fundamental importance of effective communication. Helen understands that, for her clients, family law is much more than a legal issue. It is about them, their lives, their children, their futures, their adjustment and their security, personal and financial.

Ede Family Law

Northpoint Tower

Level 40, 100 Miller St


Tel: 0404 058 449

Email: [email protected]


Janine De Saxe

Janine has been practicing as a solicitor for 30 years, and became an Accredited Specialist in Family Law in 1993. Janine has in-depth experience in a diverse range of areas in Family Law. Janine is highly skilled at resolving emotionally draining and contentious disputes by way of negotiation and conciliation where possible. Janine has a strong industry reputation at providing successful outcomes for her clients.

Janine undertook the Collaborative Law Training ten years ago, and has been keen to promote this alternative process to assist separating couples. Janine is also an Accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner. Known for being efficient and thorough, Janine is also sensitive to the distress clients may feel while dealing with the issues relating to the breakdown of their relationship. To limit the stress, Janine takes a practical and strategic approach to ensure a positive outcome for her clients.

DLO Lawyers

7/67 Wanganella Street


Tel: 02 9948 3820

Email: [email protected]


Celia Oosterhoff 

Celia is an Accredited Specialist and is Family Law Partner with city firm, Pigott Stinson. She has a long-standing and strong ongoing connection to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and has practised exclusively in Family Law for over 15 years with both larger suburban firms and city boutique family law practices. Celia has extensive experience in all facets of Family Law including complex parenting, financial issues, and child support. 

In addition to having completed a Masters programme in Family Law, Celia is a trained Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and also carries out work as an Independent Children’s Lawyer in complex parenting matters where a child representative is appointed. Prior to commencing legal practice, Celia worked as a Research Associate for two members of the Appeal Division of the Family Court, as a volunteer solicitor and student volunteer with several Community Legal services, and also for over 10 years in disability services. Celia’s communication style, and approach to assisting her clients through one of the most challenging periods in their lives, is one of warmth, understanding, and calm measured focus.

In recommending Collaborative Practice as an alternative to litigation or traditional dispute resolution, Celia aims to help her clients reach negotiated settlements, without further damaging what can be fragile family relationships. In responding to changing work practices arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Celia offers flexible appointments, either in person, via telephone or Zoom, or by mutual agreement, at less-formal venues where necessary to meet her client’s needs.

 Pigott Stinson

Level 3, 10 Barrack Street

Sydney NSW 2001 

 Tel: 02 8251 7777

Email: [email protected]


Margie O’Neill

Margie has only worked in Family Law as a lawyer and her legal skills are complemented by her background of over 20 years working with families as a Social Worker. Margie has experience in all areas of Family Law and she uses interests-based negotiation and mediation skills to facilitate resolutions. Margie encourages open and effective communication and is warm and approachable.

Margie understands the complex emotional dynamics which are often present in separating families and she is focused on the best interests of the children. She appreciates how important it is for children that their parents can maintain respectful communications and be able to co parent following separation.

Margie is committed to Collaborative Practice and believes that is the best process for separating families to work together respectfully to find a future focused solution that meets their needs. 

De Saxe La Cava O’Neill

7/67 Wanganella Street


Tel: 02 9948 3820

Email: [email protected]


Claire Nielsen

Claire commenced practice as a solicitor in 2008 after 9 years of working as a Family Law paralegal. Since her admission, Claire has practiced mainly in the areas of Family Law, Wills and Estates and Conveyancing. Claire brings her broader experience in estate planning and property law to the table in working out creative solutions for couples going through a property division.

Claire has obtained the Specialist Accreditation in Family Law and always aims to achieve timely, practical and positive settlements by consent. This approach has caused Claire to develop a strong interest in collaborative processes with a focus on resolving disputes without intervention of the Court. Claire’s experience in running contested parenting and property matters in the Family and Federal Circuit Courts have led her to the view that the interests of families are best served by a negotiated resolution without the need for protracted litigation.

Shipton & Associates

1/1 Raglan Street


Tel: 02 9976 5222

Fax: 02 9976 5333

Email: [email protected]


Julia Brierley

A specialist in family mediation, Julia is committed to providing a confidential, compassionate and child-centred approach to resolving parenting and property disputes.

As a registered FDRP and relationship counsellor, Julia has many years experience working with families going through separation and divorce, both in private practice as the co founder of Sydney Dispute Resolution and in the community sector for Relationships Australia and Legal Aid.

As a Collaborative Coach, Julia assists parties to work through their differences, reflect on their hopes for the future and to reach practical agreements that preserve important relationships and remove the stress of conflict. She will work hard to ensure you leave with tools and strategies to communicate better and to create a strong co-parenting relationship for your children as you move into the next chapter of your lives.

Sydney Dispute Resolution

PO Box 572


Tel: 0447 183 474

Email: [email protected]

Sue Armstrong

Sue is a Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Lawyer, Conflict Coach and Collaborative Professional. She brings compassion and expertise to assist you to jointly and respectfully make choices about how to share your property and children’s care and shape your future. As a collaborative coach she is an impartial facilitator and steward of the process, assisting you both and your lawyers and to make most efficient use of the collaborative process and optimising your contributions to it. Sue is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University Law School and brings a wealth of experience in compassionate communication to support you and your family.

Armstrong Mediation

Tranquillo Place, Mona Vale Court

10/16 Waratah Street,

Mona Vale NSW 2103

Tel: 0438 226 130

Email: [email protected]


Child Consultant

Rebecca Burnett-Smith

As part of the collaborative process, it is sometimes helpful to hear from the children directly. Rebecca is specially trained to conduct one-off sessions with children, called Child Inclusive Practice (CIP).

In CIP, children and young people, aged 5 - 18 years, have the opportunity to share their hopes, needs and concerns about the separation. They have a place to talk in a focussed, therapeutic way about what the separation is like for them, including what they like and what they find difficult.

Children are never asked where they want to live, or to make any other decisions, as that is the role of their parents.

The aim of the session is rather to gain a snapshot of how the children are travelling emotionally, and they are encouraged to allow Rebecca to share as much as possible in a feedback session with their parents.

The children's voices can then be brought into the collaborative process and assists parents to develop plans which take the children's needs into consideration. The CIP will also identify children who need further support and assistance.

Kids First Mediation 

The Lotus Centre

2/13 Dale St


Tel: 0403 669 391

Email: [email protected]

Financial Adviser Members

Carol Herrmann

Carol sees Financial Planning as an opportunity to make a positive difference in each of her clients lives. She is very committed and she finds helping people whilst doing what she loves rewarding and motivating.

Carol’s qualifications include a Diploma of Marketing, an Advanced Diploma of Management, a Bachelor of Business and a Diploma of Financial Planning.

Outside of work Carol is a passionate advocate for the less fortunate.


Level 1 - 210 The Central Coast Highway


Tel: (02) 4312-6000

Fax (02) 4312-6001

Email: [email protected]


Justin Hooper

Five years before the Global Financial Crisis, Justin identified the coming problem and built a solution.

His training in the USA on Life Planning perfectly complimented his business degree, financial planning skills and exposure to scenario planning.

He developed the Seantos Process, a unique step by-step approach to integrating life and money, and wrote his first book, A Richer Life.

Being equally left and right brained, his approach has been built on gaining a deep understanding of the ‘why?’ without neglecting the rigorous analysis of the ‘how?’ He appeals as much to the highly analytical engineer as he does to the visionary artist or the more spiritual contributor. Besides his business life, Justin had a very full life in South Africa having played State level cricket for a number of years, flying light aircraft as a hobby and writing his own weekly column in the largest circulation newspaper. However after learning more about his own deep motivators, he and his wife made a life choice to give it all up and migrate to Australia. He subsequently studied life planning with George Kinder, one of the forefathers of the concept in the USA and has qualified as one of only two Registered Life Planners® in Australia.

Justin specialises in dealing with intelligent, successful people, who want to live a meaningful, congruent life and know it’s possible. Over the past 28 years, he has advised over 2000 clients most of whom are financially successful.

Sentinel Wealth

Level 24, 56 Pitt St

Sydney NSW 2000

Tel: 02 8908 5300

Email: [email protected]