What is collaborative law?
It is an amicable and alternative way of resolving disputes. This negotiation method makes it possible to resolve disputes and reach a custom-made and, above all, sustainable agreement. The idea is to settle things once and for all and avoid the resurgence of conflicts after the agreement. We must know that nearly half of divorces by mutual consent are the subject of subsequent litigation within two years the pronounced for reasons of interpretation, frustration not expressed, concessions too quickly accepted and just as fast ... regretted.
The Collaborative law process is that it recognizes that emotional issues exist that cannot be addressed by the legal system. How often have you heard stories of divorcing parties spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to argue about pets or furniture that has limited monetary value. Generally speaking, the parties in such cases are not arguing about dogs, cats or furniture. Instead, they are reacting to psychological pains that they experiencing. These emotional issues that are ignored in the Court process. By contrast, the collaborative law process specifically addresses these issues by bringing them to the forefront and using professionals as part of team approach to find solutions.
How does it work ?
In this process, each party is assisted by a lawyer trained in this method of negotiation (this is a training in addition to the certificate of proficiency in the legal profession) and, both the parties and lawyers, undertake to make every effort to find an amicable and mutually acceptable outcome. To do this, a contract of participation in the process is signed by the parties and their lawyers. All commit to respect principles including transparency and confidentiality of the talks. The idea is to create a bubble of protection around the negotiations to avoid any pressure. In particular, the parties will not be able to appeal to the judge to settle their dispute as long as the process is ongoing, threatening to resort to it. The judge will only be seized to homologate the agreement found if it is necessary.
The work is done together, at a meeting between the parties and their lawyers. These meetings follow a specific agenda. Lawyers make the parties listen to each other and communicate with each other using communication techniques (active listening / reformulation). The collaborative process is very structured and follows very specific steps that must be passed one after the other.
The process incorporates elements from the reasoned negotiation which allows to work in depth the problem (s) of the parties and not to remain on an opposition of positions.
Each party in the Collaborative law process signs a contractual agreement which include the following terms:
Each party agrees to honestly and openly disclose all documents and information relating to the issues. Neither spouse may take advantage of a miscalculation or an inadvertent mistake. Instead, such errors are identified and corrected.
Each party agrees to act respectfully and avoid disparaging or vilifying any of the participants.
As part of the process all participants agree to insulate the children from the proceeding and to act ins such a way as to minimize the impact of the divorce on them.
The parties agree to implement outside experts where necessary in a cooperative fashion and share the costs related to those experts. (e.g. real estate appraisers, business appraisers, parenting consultants, vocational evaluators, or accountants)
The primary goal of the process is to work toward an amicable solution and to create a "win-win" situation for all.
Neither party may seek or threaten court action to resolve disputes. If the parties decide to go to court, the attorneys must withdraw and the process begins anew in the court system.
Where does it come from ?
Collaborative law was created in the 1990s by a lawyer from Minnesota (USA), Stuart WEBB.
The collaborative process developed very widely in North America and arrived in France in 2006.
This is a real change of state of mind, a way of practicing the profession of lawyer which is particularly indicated in all matters where the human dimension is important.
For what kind of issues?
In all cases where there is a dispute and the parties want to avoid going to court to have it decided.
The use of the collaborative process is particularly indicated for separations (divorce, breakup of concubinage or PACS), but it can also be used for more technical issues such as liquidations of matrimonial regime, estates, neighbors dispute etc.
The problems are solved in depth, in their entirety and therefore in the long term.
Customers are actors in the process and are not stripped of the talks. Nobody decides for them.
We evacuate the judicial risk.
The parties do not have to make concessions. The agreement that will be found will be mutually acceptable and based on what is important for each of them.
We reach an agreement in a secure setting. Everything said in meetings, all documents that are established or produced are covered by confidentiality. To guarantee this confidentiality but also to allow transparency, collaborative lawyers will no longer be able to assist their clients if the process fails. There is no question that what could have been said can be used against the other before a judge.
More or less expensive than litigation?
This process is less expensive than litigation.
It is often a little more expensive than traditional negotiations, but not always. This is because the talks are being conducted more deeply. However, the process has the advantage of avoiding the post-agreement disputes that occur very frequently when the talks have been conducted a little too quickly, without resolving the real problems of substance or neglecting the human aspects and when the agreement has been reached. based solely on concessions.
How long will that take?
The number of meetings depends on the importance of the issues being addressed and the needs of the parties.
In general, it takes between 6 and 8 meetings that are between 2 and 8 months. But it can be more, or less. Once again, it's tailor-made.
In any case, it is generally shorter than litigation.
Contact Christelle today for a consultation on how International Collaborative Law can help you in your case. Call her at +33 (0)4 93 84 15 03 or use the email form below.