Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
How Does Collaborative Work?
- Each party retains their own family and marital law attorney who is collaboratively trained to advocate for and counsel each of the parties throughout the collaborative process.
- The attorneys, along with the clients, agree to select a Neutral Forensic Accountant who will evaluate the parties financial picture with the goal of creating options for distribution of property, alimony, child support and any other financial issues relating to the case. The attorneys and clients will also select a Neutral Facilitator, typically a licensed mental health professional, who will work with both parties and the professionals to facilitate and maintain the authenticity of the process. He or she strives to ensure that communication remains efficient and expedient. The Neutral Facilitator will also work with both parents if there are minor children to create a parenting plan.
- Each of the retained neutral professionals meets with the parties individually to discuss their goals and objectives.
- Once the facts and circumstances of the case as well as the goals and objectives of the respective parties are assessed by all professional team members, the first full team meeting is scheduled. This could occur within a few weeks of executing the professional engagement.
- With each meeting, agreements are reached which are in the parties’ final Marital Settlement Agreement.
- After the collaborative marital settlement agreement is signed, the parties and their attorneys will draft the papers so that the parties can obtain a judgement of dissolution of marriage from the courts.
The Collaborative Team
"Never cut what you can untie"
How Does Collaborative Compare To Litigation?
|Who Controls the Process||You and your spouse control the process and make final decisions||Judge controls the process and makes final decisions|
|Degree of Adversity||You and your spouse pledge mutual respect and openness||Court process is based on an adversarial system|
|Cost||Costs are manageable, usually less expensive than litigation; team model is financially efficient in use of experts||Costs are unpredictable and can escalate rapidly including frequency of post- judgement litigation|
|Timetable||You and your spouse create the timetable||Judge sets the timetable; often delays given crowded court|
|Use of Outside Experts||Jointly retained specialists provide information and guidance helping you and your spouse develop informed mutually beneficial solutions||Separate experts are hired to support the litigants' positions, often at great expense to each|
|Involvement of Lawyers||Your lawyers work toward a mutually created settlement||Lawyers fight to win, but someone loses|
|Privacy||The process, discussion and negotiation details are kept private||Dispute becomes a matter of public record & sometimes, media attention|
|Facilitation of Communication||Team of collaborative practice specialists educate and assist you and your spouse on how to effectively communicate with each other||No process designed to facilitate communication|
|Voluntary Vs Mandatory||Voluntary||Mandatory if no agreement|
|Lines of Communication||You and your spouse communicate directly with the assistance of members of your team||You and your spouse negotiate through your lawyers|
|Court Involvement||Outside court||Court-based|
Is It Right For You?
The Collaborative Process is the right choice for couples seeking a mutually agreed upon settlement and who are committed to move beyond disputes in a respectful and peaceful manner. The goal is that the family can look forward to decreased conflict and improved communication post divorce / dispute.
Same Sex Couples
Pre / Post-Nuptial
Judgement Modification & Enforcement
We all know about traditional divorce where it is a battle between parties and their lawyers to see who can win in the eyes of the judge. Collaborative Divorce enables separating couples to engage in a dignified and responsible approach to end their marriage. It ensures privacy by being done outside the courtroom. It lessens the burden of time, money, and emotions by providing the parties more control. It helps protect children from unnecessary harm due to the high emotional stress of a litigated divorce.
Unmarried couples who have lived together for many years and have established a shared co-existence also need options. Collaborative law provides these couples a dignified and peaceful solution to their separation needs by helping to establish the division of property, parenting plans, and living situations.
Collaborative law is ideal for Same Sex Couples desiring to separate since Florida does not currently recognize same sex marriages. The collaborative process provides all the same benefits to same sex couples as it does to married and unmarried couples. It helps partners through the division of property and valuables, parenting plans, and future arrangements.
Collaborative law provides paternity cases with a unique option to settle outside of court based on the negotiations between each party with the child(ren) being taken into full consideration.
Pre and post nuptial agreements can be developed using the collaborative approach to help reduce the stress and distress associated with sensitive negotiations.
Working with your collaborative team does not need to end with the signing of the marital settlement agreement. The team can address post judgment modification & enforcement issues under the same principles of mutual respect, transparency, privacy and full disclosure.