Family law matters are currently undergoing extensive change in the state of Florida. This is primarily due to the latest passage of the Collaborative Law Process Act. This law was designed to meet the economic realities of today’s divorcing couple, and engage the popularity of collaborative divorce in general. The act will most definitely affect areas of family law – and if you are thinking of filing for divorce, it is important that you understand what this act means for you. Florida is not the first state to pass this law, either; instead, they are now the 14th to put such bill into action.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce, also referred to as a collaborative process, is a different dispute resolution at the disposal of divorcing couples. When you use the collaborative process, you and your attorney will agree with your spouse and the attorney on a process that will find solutions and reach a settlement outside of the courtroom. All of the funds and time that you spend on the case will be devoted to this goal – instead of a goal of litigation. If you agree to the collaborative process, you will sign a contract (as will your legal counsel), agreeing that you intend to work toward an out-of-court settlement.
Provisions of the Act
The Act was passed to further the goals of Florida residents to engage in the collaborative process. It was designed to create a more uniform system for the practice of collaborative divorce. The Act confirms public policy that encourages peaceful dispute resolution and voluntary settlement versus litigation. The early resolution is key. The Act’s policies are non-adversarial in nature and designed to preserve a working relationship between divorcing spouses. It is not designed just to make divorce less emotionally daunting, but financially, as well.
Not all family law issues were included in the Act, but the areas that have provisions include:
- Division of marital assets
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Paternity and parentage issues
- Relocation of one parent and child
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Am I Required to Use the Collaborative Process?
The law was not created to force you into a collaborative divorce. If you feel that a collaborative process is not right for you or the situation is too hostile/dangerous to work directly with your spouse, you can still opt for litigation or another form of dispute resolution approved by the courts. The judge cannot force you into collaborative process – instead, it is strictly voluntary. If you do enter into the collaborative process, you can still change your mind later. The Act allows for a termination of the collaborative agreement without consent of the other party. There is also no requirement that there must be cause for a party to terminate the agreement, and it can be terminated for any reason.
Beller & Bustamante, P.L. – Authorities on Collaborative Divorce
Are you thinking about filing for divorce? Are you interested in collaborative process? The attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. have a history of successful collaborative divorces. Collaborative divorce frees you from the stress of litigation as well as the financial burden and our attorneys can help. Get started by discussing collaborative law with a family law attorney today at (904) 288-4414 or feel free to contact us online with your concerns.