Senate Bill 972, the “Collaborative Law Process Act,” is making its way through the Florida Senate and will hopefully become law this summer.
[UPDATE 2: Governor Scott signed the Collaborative Law Process Act on 3/24/16]
[UPDATE: The Collaborative Law Process Act Passed the Florida Legislature on 3/4/16. Learn more about it in the following Article: Collaborative Law Process Act Protects Families’ Privacy]
The Collaborative Law Process Act creates a legal framework for families to resolve disputes outside of court. The bill specifies that family law matters under chapters 61 or 742 of the Florida Statutes may be resolved via the collaborative process. These family law matters include the following:
- Alimony and child support;
- Marital property and debt distribution;
- Child custody and visitation (also known as time-sharing and parental responsibility);
- Parental relocation with a child;
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; and
Families in Tampa Bay, Greater Sarasota, and throughout the state of Florida are already utilizing the collaborative process to resolve divorce and other matters privately and respectfully, but a big improvement with this bill is that there will be a statutory framework to ensure discussions had in the collaborative process can be enforced as confidential.
Senate Bill 972 was introduced by Senator Tom Lee in November 2015. It has since received unanimous favorable votes in the Rules Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
A companion bill, House Bill 967, was introduced in December 2015 by Representative Stevenson and received a unanimous favorable vote in the Civil Justice Subcommittee.
If and when the Collaborative Law Process Act passes, it will not take effect until 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court adopts rules of procedure and professional responsibility that is consistent with the act. If that takes place relatively quickly, the Act could go into effect July 1, 2016.
If you have questions regarding the Collaborative Law Process Act or how the collaborative process can help your family resolve issues related to divorce privately and respectfully, schedule a consultation with Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm at (813) 443-0615 or click here to fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover practices exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law. Adam is the Immediate Past President of Next Generation Divorce, Florida’s largest collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also a member of the Research Committee of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.