Woody Mosten and Peacemaking Practice Trainers

Video: Woody Mosten Addresses Association for Conflict Resolution

Forrest (Woody) Mosten has been on the cutting edge of the law since the 1970s.  He has been a pioneer in the fields of unbundled legal services, mediation, and collaborative practice, and he has also authored the following books on these topics (you can order them here):

  • The Complete Guide to Mediation: The Cutting-Edge Approach to Family Law Practice (2d Edition, ABA, 2015) (with Elizabeth Scully)
  • Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Effectively Helping Divorcing Families Without Going to Court (Jossey-Bass, 2009)
  • The Mediation Career Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2001)
  • Unbundling Legal Services (ABA, 2000)

In 2011, Woody keynoted at the Association of Conflict Resolution.  You can find the video from part of the speech below:

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Divorce: What Happens to My Small Business?

You have worked hard to build your small business in Tampa Bay or Greater Sarasota.  Your dreams and future are intertwined with your company.  But, now, you are facing divorce, and you are worried about how this will affect your small business.  You know there are quite a few issues that you will have to deal with.  Child custody, division of property and debts, and child and spousal support all need to be addressed.

Small Business and Collaborative Divorce

Small Business & Collaborative Divorce

But what happens to your small business?

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Divorce Lessons Learned

Every attorney learns lessons from the divorce cases with which they are involved.  Some attorneys learn lessons that have unintentional, destructive consequences for the family of the client whom they serve.  Other attorneys learn lessons that contribute to a peaceful resolution of disputes.

Divorce Attorneys Learn All Types of Lessons from Their Cases

Attorney Nancy Retsinas on Divorce Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned in Divorce Cases

After 25 years of practice, Washington collaborative divorce attorney Nancy Retsinas shares lessons that she has learned along the way:

  • Many roads lead to resolution — collaboration, mediation, even plain-old cooperation. The courtroom should be the road of last resort.
  • Listen to gain understanding. Only by actively listening — without preconceptions or judgments — am I able to truly understand my client’s needs.
  • Don’t ask for — but also don’t be afraid of — conflict. Everything is figure-out-able.
  • Build rapport. Understanding all perspectives in a dispute results in better, more durable agreements — and almost always keeps people out of court.
  • It is not only possible, [but] it is imperative to treat all people respectfully — especially those you disagree with.
  • The Law” rarely solves “The Problem.”
  • Plan for peacemaking and be prepared for a few the bumps in the road before getting there.
  • Be future-focused. Encourage clients to look forward and not dwell on past hurts or resentments. It’s the only way to true resolution.
  • Clients seek clear legal guidance focused on their underlying interests. Legal advice given in a vacuum is rarely helpful.
  • Honesty above all else.

Lessons for You

The main lessons for spouses to take away from Nancy’s list is that court is rarely the answer for divorcing families.  Rather, respect and cooperation provide spouses the best opportunity to (i) move on with their lives as quickly as possible, (ii) protect their children along the way, and (iii) spend the least amount of money in the divorce process.

If you have questions about collaborative divorce or how we can help you move forward, schedule a meeting with Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.


Adam B. Cordover focuses exclusively on out-of-court dispute resolution with a focus on collaborative divorce, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services.  Adam is a co-author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on collaborative law.

Gary Direnfeld on Sole Custody

Video: Do You Really Need “Sole Custody?”

In my Tampa office, parents come to me all of the time and say they want “sole custody.”  Maybe they are having an argument with the other parent.  Maybe they just don’t get along.  So parents figure that the solution is to be the only one to have decision making authority over their child.

In the video below, social worker Gary Direnfeld challenges the assumptions behind requests for sole custody.

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Video: Hiring A Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

In Tampa Bay and Greater Sarasota, you have a lot of choices when determining who should be your divorce lawyer.  You may have already figured out that your best, least destructive path is via collaborative practice, where you and your spouse work together to ensure your kids and finances survive the divorce.  But how do you choose which attorney to hire to represent you in a collaborative divorce?

The video below, from Reel Lawyers, discusses the importance of hiring an attorney who specializes in collaborative practice.

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A quicker way to divorce

A Quicker Way To Divorce

One of the most painful aspects of the traditional divorce process is that it seems to drag on forever. Clients are hauled through case management conferences, temporary relief hearings, depositions, motion hearings, pre-trial conferences, and, finally, oftentimes years later, trial.

But this does not need to be the way you go through one of the toughest times of your life.  There is a quicker way to divorce.

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Collaborative Divorce Training Review: “Amazing!”

Fifty plus attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and students successfully completed a two-day Introductory Collaborative Family Law Training at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  The training was led by Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover along with psychologist Jeremy Gaies and accountants Kristin DiMeo and David Harper, all of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.

Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers

Adam B. Cordover, Jeremy Gaies, Kristin DiMeo, and Enid Miller Ponn Demonstrate a Collaborative Divorce Team Prep Meeting

The purpose of the training is to educate members of various professions on how they can help families go through divorce privately, efficiently, and as peacefully as possible.

“Excellent!  Well organized, informative, funny, and thorough!  You kept our attention during some very dry ‘legal-ease,’ and are all great team players,” praised Professor Randy Heller, the organizer of the training.

Adam B. Cordover alongside David Harper going over a fact pattern at a collaborative divorce training.

“You are amazing!” proclaimed Nancy Brodzki, president of the Collaborative Family Law Professionals of South Florida, the main sponsors of the training.  When asked what other topics she was interested in attending, Nancy responded, “Any collaborative training you offer.”

“Adam is extremely knowledgeable, well-spoken, and a huge asset to the collaborative divorce program,” said attendee and attorney Honit Simon.  “Adam did well in combining practice with theory,” commented another attendee, mental health student Solomon Udo.

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Upcoming Books Help Lawyers Avoid Divorce Wars

Tampa Bay divorce attorney Adam B. Cordover was recently cited in a news article from University of California – Los Angeles’ School of Law.  The article discusses books that teach lawyers to help families resolve divorce and other disputes privately and peacefully.  You can find the article below:

Three new books by UCLA School of Law faculty shine a light on non-traditional forms of practice in order to create greater access to legal services and to help lawyers master alternatives to litigation.

Forrest Mosten

Adjunct Professor Forrest Mosten ’72, a member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2002, and Lecturer Elizabeth Scully are co-authors of The Complete Guide to Mediation and The Family Lawyer’s Guide to Unbundled Legal Services. Mosten also is co-author, with Florida practitioner Adam Cordover, of a third book, Building A Successful Collaborative Practice, to which Scully is contributing a chapter. All three books are published by the American Bar Association. The Complete Guide to Mediation came out in 2015; the other two are slated for publication in 2017.

“We believe that lawyers should be more than gladiators,” said Mosten. “They can be healers and teachers, and their offices can be classrooms of client education. That’s a theme that runs through all of these books and my UCLA courses.”

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Bird Custody: What Happens To Our Pet In Divorce?

When a couple has children, and they are getting divorced, they set up a child custody schedule to determine where their children will sleep at night.  But what happens when spouses have a bird?  Will a Tampa Bay divorce judge set up a “bird custody” schedule?

Bird Custody

Bird Custody

No, a judge will not create a bird custody schedule, but a couple can agree to such a schedule through a private form of dispute resolution such as collaborative divorce.

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Financial Advisers Learn About Collaborative Divorce

Financial advisers are tasked with protecting their clients’ wealth.  And financial advisers want to help clients going through divorce make smart decisions and preserve their assets.  On December 8, 2016, the professionals and staff of the Sabal Trust Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, learned how collaborative divorce can safeguard their clients’ wealth, time, and privacy.

Discussing Collaborative Divorce

Sarah Hoerber, Tanya O’Connor, and Adam B. Cordover at Sabal Trust Company

Sabal Trust is the largest employee-owned trust company in Florida, and its Principals and staff are invested in creating a strategic approach to its clients financial security and growth. That is why they invited Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover along with forensic accountant Sarah Hoerber and Brandon attorney Tanya O’Connor to discuss collaborative divorce.

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