Collaborative divorce in Florida is the middle ground between a traditional divorce and an uncontested divorce. In a traditional divorce, the couple may disagree on alimony, child custody, and division of assets. These disagreements typically need to be resolved through litigation and require court intervention. On the other hand, in an uncontested divorce, the couple is in agreement on all the issues encompassing the divorce. Conversely, in a collaborative divorce, the couple disagrees on the how the issues should be resolved but are willing to try and work together to reach an agreement without court intervention.For more information on the differences click here.
Collaborative divorce in Florida has many benefits. For instance, it can allow the parties to have more control over the outcome and save money on attorney fees. However, a collaborative divorce is not right for every situation. If you’re considering divorce you should meet with a Tampa divorce lawyer to learn more about collaborative divorce and if it is right for your needs. Many divorce law firms in Tampa will offer free initial consultations to explain the collaborative divorce process in more detail.
The Process for Collaborative Divorce in Florida
Typically, in a collaborative divorce in Florida case each spouse will have their own Tampa divorce attorney. The divorce attorneys will enter into a binding agreement that requires them to withdraw from the case in the event the collaborative divorce process fails and the couple has to proceed with litigation. Under this type of agreement, there can still be substantive discussions regarding Florida divorce law without the threat of prolonged litigation and court actions. The theory is that this will allow the parities to focus more on creating an agreement both parties can be satisfied with instead of adversarial proceedings and posturing.
In order to be successful, collaborative divorce in Florida requires both sides to provide a full and honest disclosure. If both parties don’t enter the collaborative divorce in good faith the negotiations may fail. Couples should not be too concerned about disclosing information. Under Florida law, all settlement discussions are considered confidential and inadmissible in court. Additionally, anyone involved in the process will not be allowed to testify in court regarding settlement discussions. For instance, a C.P.A. or forensic accountant must keep settlement discussions confidential.
The Negotiation Process for Collaborative Divorce in Florida
Most often, a collaborative divorce in Florida will begin with an initial conference where the couple and their respective divorce attorneys enter into a participation agreement. The agreement should provide an outline for the future meetings. For instance, it should specify the required conduct of each party. Additionally, the agreement should address the use of any experts to aid in the negotiations. For instance, many divorce cases involving entrepreneurs or complex assets will require the use of an expert to help appraise the value of the business or asset. The agreement should outline the process for selecting the experts and the issues they will be asked to advise on.
Subsequent meetings will be coordinated between the parties and should include a formal agenda. The agenda will describe the topics to be discussed to help avoid any surprises during the negotiations. It’s suggested to create a customized agenda for each meeting to help further resolving any issues that are still lingering. A customized agenda can help each side properly prepare for the meeting and stay focused on the topic at hand. The Tampa divorce lawyer you retained should be able to assist with creating the agenda.
Using a Mediator for a Collaborative Divorce in Florida
If the parties are not able to resolve all the issues amongst themselves they should consider bringing in a mediator. A mediator is an impartial, independent person who is familiar with Florida divorce law. The mediator will listen to both sides and propose solutions to help negotiate a settlement between the two parties. The mediator’s proposals are only suggestions. A mediator does not have any authority to compel the parties to any specific act or agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful and the negotiations are still at an impasse, the Tampa divorce attorney you retained may be required to send out a formal notice of withdrawal from the collaborative process.
Tampa Divorce Law Firm
If you are contemplating filing for divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, call us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Tampa divorce attorney at our firm. We understand how stressful a divorce can be and we want to provide solutions, not add to your burden with overpriced legal fees. When you hire Florida law Advisers you can count on the strong advocacy you need in these important matters. Whether a couple mutually agrees to the terms of a divorce or are engaged in a fierce battle for their property and child custody rights, Florida Law Advisers, P.A. can help. Call 800 990 7763 to speak with a divorce lawyer, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.