Some people chuckle when they hear the term “collaborative divorce.” They think, “If the couple could collaborate, why would they need to divorce?” That said, it is a term that is getting used more and more in Florida and around the country these days. And while it isn’t for everyone, it does offer advantages in many cases.
Collaboration 101: What is Collaborative Divorce? How Does it Differ From a “Conventional” Divorce?
Perhaps the biggest difference between a collaborative divorce and a conventional divorce is the thought process behind it. In many conventional divorces, the parties start and finish with an understanding that they are intensely involved in a battle.
Collaborative divorce, particularly in Florida, acknowledges that there generally can be no “winners” when one side or the other is intent upon having every issue decided in his or her favor. It acknowledges further that the more a mom and dad battle the issues out between them, the more the children tend to lose.
Separate Legal Representation
Usually in a collaborative divorce, the parties each hire their own independent attorney and, after consultation and if both parties desire to move forward, the couple enters into a formal collaborative law participation agreement. The agreement sets out the issues that need to be worked out. It can specify what experts (accountants, counselors, etc.), if any, the couple desires to employ to help come to a settlement. The parties may meet one or more times, consult with experts and their attorneys and, if agreement is possible, reduce the agreement to writing and then submit it to the court for approval.
Potential Advantages of a Collaborative Divorce
Less Long-Term Damage
Many divorcing couples find that, without the adversarial environment often associated with a conventional divorce, the couple can not only come to an agreement about relevant post-divorce issues (division of property, custody/visitation of children, and the like), they also come out of the divorce with less bitterness. With less strife and bitterness, the couple has set the stage for continued cooperation, particularly with regard to the future of the children.
Every couple’s situation is different. A judge does not ordinarily have the time and patience to provide customized guidance in a divorce. In a collaborative divorce, care can be given to the individual issues that are at stake. The agreement isn’t a one-size-fits-all arrangement; it is crafted just for the couple involved.
In many cases, a Florida divorce through the collaborative method can be resolved quicker than if the issues are battled out in court. Meetings and other consultations can be set, according to the couple’s schedules, not based upon a crowded court docket.
Is a Divorce in Your Future?
If you are facing a divorce, separation, or other family law issue and prefer to avoid going to court, a collaborative law resolution might be right for you. The attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. have the knowledge and experience to assist you in this most stressful period of time. To learn more about the process or to schedule an initial consultation, contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L. online or call us at (904) 288-4414 today.