When you hear the word divorce what is the first thing you think of? Many people would say fighting, anger or a drawn-out legal battle. Collaboration is probably not at the top of the list. Thanks to a new Florida law, however, collaboration and divorce may soon be more commonly thought of together.
On March 24, Governor Rick Scott signed the Collaborative Law Process Act into law. It will likely go into effect this summer, making Florida the 15th state to adopt it. What does this mean for Florida couples planning to divorce? Collaboration is now another option available, along with other alternative dispute resolution processes like mediation.
What is collaborative divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process where spouses and their attorneys work together to negotiate and settle issues without resorting to litigation. The parties share documents, and information remains confidential. Other professionals may also be involved including financial experts and mental health professionals. The goal is to have an efficient and respectful process, where the parties (and not a judge) are in control of the outcome. When using the formal collaborative process, attorneys must withdraw if the parties later decide to litigate.
Even if spouses do not elect to follow the formal collaborative process in a divorce, attorneys and everyone involved can still use a collaborative approach. Many couples want to work together in negotiations to avoid litigation and maintain more control of the outcome. When children are involved this type of approach is even more beneficial because it helps to avoid contentious disputes and maintain a respectful relationship.
At Peppler Law we are experienced in a variety of approaches to divorce. We will advise you of all the options available, and work with you to determine the best way to move forward based on your unique situation.