There have been many interesting collaborative law cases that have been untaken this year by many different practitioners. Here are two which may be of interest:
Case Study 1 – Finalised in only two meetings
Professionals sometimes assume that in order for matters to be completed in a collaborative process they should be complex or will require multiple meetings. One matter was completed in two meetings. The parties had no children but had a shared loved for their very well-cared for dog. The wife was the financially savvy person in the relationship.
The pool was in excess of $1.5 million dollars and included real properties, businesses, share portfolios, trusts and a self-managed super fund. The parties were able to focus on their ongoing relationship, agree in the interim regarding removing the wife as the book keeper from the husband’s business in a way that was not detrimental to that business and more importantly ensure that their beloved pet continued to see them both.
There were valuations undertaken and disclosure by the parties and the wife was able to assist the husband in understanding their finances.
From start to finish (including disclosure and preparation of court documents) the matter was completed in less than six months and the parties spent combined under $15,000.
Case Study 2 – Collaborative process reduces anxiety and stress
The husband sought advice over a long period. He struggled to leave his daughter in the care of the mother who had suicidal ideation. Initially he wanted strict boundaries imposed around the care regime. The parties were introduced to a counsellor and set up safety scaffolding around the family to permit him to reflect differently on these needs.
The parties had approximately $48,000 remaining after the sale of their home and the repayment of Division 7A loans. The husband had a number of companies with little present value he asserted. He believed they would become valuable. The parties bought a house in the wife’s name. She had one loan in her name and he had one loan in his name. He was offering her much more than they had by this commitment.
After discussion with him, his collaborative practitioner wrote to the wife and explained his hopes, goals and mind set and provided documents that recorded his proposal. The practitioner recommended she obtained advice and gave the name of collaborative practitioners. The husband was paying for her advice so that a meeting could take place to make the process as transparent as possible to reduce her anxiety.
The wife chose a collaborative practitioner. She was told that valuations would be needed and of the concern that the husband’s process was not collaborative as he had put an offer in writing.
The wife had a consultation with the collaborative practitioner. Later her practitioner would not meet her again to provide advice on the Agreement. The parties talked it over and decided they trusted each other and that their way of thinking about each other might be a bridge too far for any lawyer. The husband’s practitioner was instructed to change the documents to make them agreements the parties had made without reference to legislation. Both parties knew they were recording intentions not legally binding agreements. They signed and left happily together. Parties want to make their own agreements, not ours