POINT OF VIEW. “Family conflicts: lawyers and clients, together let’s do it differently”

“Lawyers and magistrates are calling for a profound change in conflict management by making greater use of Amicable Dispute Resolution Methods (ADR). In a historic report of July 7, 2021, the Court of Cassation is part of this revolution and underlines the virtues of amicable modes: they indeed offer the parties the possibility of expressing oneself in a flexible framework, often more conducive to the de-escalation of the conflict than that proposed by the judicial body.

The lawyer, a firefighter, not an arsonist

This is a glaring need in family matters to appease parents, children and those around them who are suffering from conflict. The health crisis has exacerbated relations and raised new questions. Family justice, which is sorely lacking in human and financial resources, may be unable to provide an appropriate response within a reasonable timeframe. It should only be seized in cases of violence or control.

In other cases, one of the keys is to turn to lawyers trained in ADRM. By their methods, they offer hyper-personalized solutions drawn up within an agreement signed by all, thus breaking out of a diagram warrior to work, as a team (the two lawyers and each of the parties), around a table and no longer in a courtroom.

The lawyer in family and personal law must be a peacemaker. His code of ethics enjoins him to examine with its clients the possibility of resolving their disputes by resorting to amicable or alternative dispute resolution methods before any legal action is instituted or during it. It does not fuel disagreement, as one might mistakenly believe, but works to extinguish it. He is a firefighter, not an arsonist.

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Lay down arms in favor of dialogue

What to expect from his pacifier lawyer? In addition to his legal skills, he must be attentive to needs, attentive to both verbal and non-verbal matters, propose a project and lasting solutions, demonstrate creativity, pragmatism and empathy. It touches the intimate, sometimes distress, which requires being reassuring without hiding the difficulties, being close, available, to help get through the ordeal. Opting for amicable means choosing a solution rather than having it imposed by a judge, it is controlling time and costs. A lawsuit is expensive and the judgment may not be satisfactory for anyone while an agreement may be for everyone.

In a trial, children are a stake, a means of destruction massive. However, they must remain protected by responsible adults who work for their happiness. An example of a customizable solution: if one of the parents is frightened by the alternating residence, it is possible to provide for extended visitation rights extending week after week. The agreement is written tailored by lawyers (unlike a more stereotypical judgment) according to the age, the needs of the child, the geographical distance, his activities, his schooling, the living conditions of the parents, the sensitivity of each one, of the siblings, of the recomposition of families …

ADRs can also calm relationships with grandparents, siblings or disaggregated families to avoid estates liquidations that last for years, draining parties and their finances.

By laying down arms for the benefit of dialogue, ADRs allow parents, children, in-laws, siblings, grandparents … to live more serenely. This mutation goes in the direction of history: that of the improvement of humanity. Together, let’s do it differently. “

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