Divorce does not always have to be contentious or litigious. Sometimes a couple might respect one another, worry about the effect of a combative divorce on their children, and want to keep their private lives private. Collaborative divorce might be the answer to how you uncouple and move on.
The 2017 Florida Collaborative Law Process Act recognized the collaborative process in divorce and paternity cases. It offers couples an alternative to an adversarial process - even couples currently in divorce litigation. Couples currently in litigation have the option of asking the court to stay the case in order for them to pursue a collaborative divorce.
If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, have already filed for divorce, or have been served divorce papers, you should know what options you have other than traditional divorce. If you live in Tallahassee, Florida, or the Big Bend region, our team at Fournier Law can help you explore the collaborative divorce process to see if it’s right for you and your family.
A collaborative divorce is an uncontested divorce in which a couple decides to work out a divorce settlement without going to court. They agree to each retain attorneys, to jointly retain other professionals (a financial expert, mental health professional, etc.), to disclose all financial information, and to work toward an agreement on all matters, including asset division, spousal support, and child custody.
Each party meets with their attorney, they meet collectively with the professional team, and they discuss settlement collectively. The attorneys’ assistance is different from legal representation in a traditional divorce where each party’s attorney attempts to get the best settlement for their own client. In a collaborative divorce, attorneys are settlement specialists rather than litigators they work with their clients and the other professionals during the process to help the parties reach an agreement without litigation.
Although the final agreement reached in the collaborative process must be approved by the court, the agreement is customized to the couple and their family. It is generally very different than one the court would have been able to craft. Because contact with the court is limited, couples also maintain a greater level of privacy during the divorce.
Collaborative divorce isn’t for every couple. For example, those with an unequal power dynamic, couples who won’t communicate with one another, or those who don’t trust one another to truthfully disclose assets. It is a good option for couples when:
While collaborative divorce is less adversarial than a traditional divorce or mediation, couples need to have the guidance of attorneys to ensure they understand the legal issues involved. In a collaborative divorce, you’re in control, but you shouldn’t try it on your own.
Whether you are considering divorce or are in the process of getting one, let us help you explore the option of collaborative divorce. It might be the best way to end your marriage and begin the rest of your life.