Collaborative divorce is a relatively new option that meets the needs of many divorcing couples and the legal professionals who represent them. This process is designed to help the two parties work out their differences instead of fighting them out in court.
Collaborative law divorce was developed in the early 1990s in response to the problems involved in courtroom litigation, an adversarial process that can be financially risky and personally damaging, especially when children are involved. The collaborative divorce process tries to move the focus of the parties away from issues of blame or guilt and toward reaching a settlement that, while rarely if ever perfect, is one that each spouse believes is reasonable and can therefore support and live with.
At Orner Law, LLC, our divorce lawyers are trained in collaborative divorce. We believe collaborative divorce can be an effective tool for helping couples come to a workable divorce settlement outside court. We represent clients throughout South Florida. Call us today and schedule your initial consultation with a skilled collaborative divorce attorney.
The Collaborative Divorce Process
In a collaborative divorce in Florida, each of the parties to the divorce is represented by his or her own attorney. This provides each spouse with support, advice and protection of interests without being required to go to court.
The process can be initiated by either spouse, though both must be willing to participate.
The first step is for each spouse to retain an attorney who is familiar with the collaborative divorce process in Florida. Attorneys who practice collaborative divorce typically have had training in the collaborative process and its various techniques designed to help achieve a settlement. For this reason, many collaborative divorce attorneys will decline to participate in a collaborative divorce with an attorney who has not completed the training.
The spouses and their lawyers will then have an initial meeting to determine if the case is appropriate for collaborative resolution, whether assistance of non-legal professionals (such as a child psychologist or financial analyst) may be appropriate and to identify as many issues as possible as to which there is no substantial disagreement. These can include everything from division of property to child support. However, the initial meeting may also identify issues that one side or the other feels must be resolved before the case can proceed.
Once these preliminary matters are resolved, the parties then sign a participation agreement that requires them to:
- Reach agreement on all divorce issues outside of court
- Exchange complete financial information
- Maintain confidentiality
When both spouses and their attorneys understand and are dedicated to the process, the success rate in collaborative divorce cases is very high. However, there are instances in which the parties encounter a major unforeseen disagreement that they are unable to resolve collaboratively. If this results in one or both of the parties deciding to pursue courtroom litigation of divorce issues, each must hire a new lawyer. The attorneys representing clients in a collaborative divorce cannot represent the same party in divorce litigation.
Appropriate for both contested and uncontested divorces, the collaborative law approach establishes a framework for couples to resolve differences with the help of others. Unlike mediation, each party is represented by an attorney throughout the process. Financial advisers and other experts can be retained, as needed, to counsel the parties and help move them toward settlement.
Ask a South Florida Divorce Lawyer
Collaborative divorce can be much less expensive, time consuming and emotionally damaging for the parties involved and their families.
With offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Orner Law, LLC serves clients throughout South Florida.
If you are interested in collaborative divorce, please contact a South Florida divorce lawyer at Orner Law, LLC for your initial consultation.