1996: Woody Mosten on the Future of Family Law

On September 6-7, 1996, the Creative Lawyers Meeting convened.  The meeting was attended by Lowell Halverson; Stu Webb (founder of collaborative practice); Forrest (Woody) Mosten (founder of Unbundled Legal Services and author of various books on mediation and collaborative practice); Jody Mosten; Bill Howe; Ed Sherman; Cheryl Woodard; Susan Cameron; Ed Cameron; Carol Farr; Peggy Williams; and Hillis Williams.

During this meeting, Woody discussed his view of the future of family law.  Below is a transcript of the notes describing Woody’s vision, lightly edited for clarity:

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1996: Stu Webb’s View of Collaborative Law

Recently, Forrest “Woody” Mosten shared notes from a 1996 meeting he had with fellow innovative family law professionals.  In attendance at the meeting were Stu Webb (who created the concept of collaborative family law), Woody, Jody Mosten, Bill Howe, Ed Sherman, Cheryl Woodard, Susan Cameron, Ed Cameron, Carol Farr, Peggy Williams, Hillis Williams, and Lowell Halverson.

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Cordover Selected to Serve on IACP Board of Directors

Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”).  Adam will be part of the incoming 2018-2019 Board along with fellow new Board Members Rajan Chettiar of Singapore,  Brian Galbraith of Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and Kevin Scudder of Seattle, Washington.

Image result for international academy of collaborative professionals

The Board announcement was made in the June 2018 edition of IACP’s Collaborative Connection, along with announcement of IACP’s incoming officers.  The announcement is reproduced below:

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Mosten & Cordover ABA Book Available in August

It is almost here!  Forrest “Woody” Mosten and Adam B. Cordover’s “Building A Successful Collaborative Family Law Practice,” a compendium of practical tools from experts in the field, will be published by the American Bar Association Family Law Section in August 2018.

Forrest S. Mosten & Adam B. Cordover

This has been a nearly 3-year project that was sparked when Adam attended a Tampa course taught by Woody in 2015 on “How to Build a Profitable and Satisfying Collaborative and Mediation Practice.”  Woody’s course provided Adam with the tools to create an exclusively private dispute resolution, non-litigation family law practice.  This allowed Adam not only to feel confident in offering clients a better way through divorce and other family law issues, but also gave him the ability to chart his own path without the high stress associated with family law court battles.

It is with that in mind that Woody and Adam have gathered experienced practitioners to provide practical tools on how professionals can make collaborative practice and peacemaking work their day job.

Below is the Table of Contents from the book:

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Video: Pauline Tesler on Collaborative Divorce and Hidden Assets

 

You may be considering using the collaborative process to divorce in a more private, amicable way, but you may wonder: “What if my spouse is hiding assets?  Can we use the collaborative process? Will it work if there are hidden assets?”

Pauline Tesler & Hidden AssetsIn the video below, California attorney Pauline Tesler, a founder of interdisciplinary collaborative practice and the first president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, addresses hidden assets:

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Why Trump and Kim Could Use a Mediator

A mediator is not just for divorce.  In fact, there is an organization, Mediators Beyond Borders, which promotes the use of mediators in all sorts of international conflicts.  A representative of the organization has even spoken in front of the United Nations to encourage mediation.

Mediator

Regardless of your perspective on the recent summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, there is one thing that seems clear to me: they could use a mediator.

How Mediators Could Help in International Diplomacy

Here is how a mediator could help:

  • A mediator is a neutral third party who helps people resolve disputes.  Though the first meeting between the national leaders seems to have had a friendly tone, there is no doubt that things will get tough.  In divorce negotiations, discussions can start off easy, but many times they devolve.  A mediator can be there to keep discussions focused on the future rather than past actions and words that caused the dispute.  A good mediator could keep President Trump and Chairman Kim focused on the future. Read more

How Do I Know If My Kids Are OK During My Divorce?

Divorce is not only stressful and life changing for you, but also for your children. As a parent, you want your children to come out of your divorce as unscathed as possible. How do you ensure that happens?

You are likely more emotional and busier than ever during your divorce process.  However, now is the time to stay connected with your children. Spend special time with them doing activities that they enjoy. Check in with their teachers, coaches, and friends to make sure that they are doing okay.

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Next Generation Divorce

Sample Collaborative Participation Agreement

Is divorce on your horizon?  If so, are you fearing entering a public adversarial system where husband is pitted against wife, and mother is pitted against father?  Fortunately, there are alternatives.  One alternative is the collaborative divorce process, where you and your spouse sign a participation agreement that states, among other things, that your attorneys can only be used to help you reach an agreement outside of court.  This means that none of you or your attorneys’ time, energy, or billable time goes towards opposition research, motion practice, or costly trial preparation.

The collaborative participation agreement spells out the rules of the collaborative process.  Below you will find a sample participation agreement that I oftentimes use in my cases here in Florida.  Please note that different professionals and different communities use different participation agreements.  Further, the same professional may have different participation agreements depending on the type of matter or the complexity of the matter.

As I have had the fortune to model my participation agreement based on the work of others, I welcome other professionals to modify and adapt the collaborative participation agreement below as their own:

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Statistics on Collaborative Divorce in Florida (1/31/2018 Update)

In 2010, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) released the results of a 4 year study on Collaborative Practice.  The results were based on information gathered from collaborative professionals who filled out a survey at the end of their case.  The IACP Research Committee collected 933 surveys from throughout the United States and Canada, 97% of which were for divorce cases.

Remarkably, the IACP found that 86% of collaborative cases ended in a full resolution of all issues, while an additional 2% ended in reconciliation between the clients.  Of those cases that terminated prior to a full agreement, 14% included a partial agreement between the clients, narrowing the issues that needed to be addressed.

In the aftermath of this research project, the IACP offered grants to local and statewide practice groups so that they could begin gathering data.  The Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP), an organization of over 500 independent collaborative professionals throughout the state of Florida, applied for IACP’s Gay Cox grant (named after a pioneer of the Collaborative Law Movement and proponent of research on the topic, who passed in 2013).  The IACP approved the FACP’s grant request.

The results below are based on 101 responses, collected between December 16, 2013, and January 31, 2018.  The authors note that data collection is ongoing, and encourage all professionals to complete and submit one survey at the end of each collaborative case.  Surveys can be accessed and submitted via the member-only portal of the FACP website (http://collaborativepracticeflorida.com).  For questions on the survey or accessing the members-only portal, professionals are encouraged to contact the authors.

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Review: A Clear and Easy Guide to Collaborative Divorce

There are a lot of great books out there on collaborative divorce.  Some, like Forrest S. Mosten’s Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Helping Families without Going to Court and Pauline Tesler’s Collaborative Law: Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce without Litigation, are geared towards divorce professionals.  Others, like Stu Webb and Ron Ousky’s The Collaborative Way to Divorce: The Revolutionary Method That Results in Less Stress, Lower Costs, and Happier Kids – Without Going to Court and Joryn Jenkin’s War or Peace: Avoid the Destruction of Divorce, are geared towards families considering divorce.

A new offering is helpful for both professionals and families.  Enter Dr. Jeremy S. Gaies’ A Clear and Easy Guide to Collaborative Divorce.

Dr. Gaies is a psychologist and collaborative facilitator/coach in Tampa, Florida.  Full disclosure: He also teaches attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and mediators how to offer families collaborative services through the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers, a group in which I am also a trainer.

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