COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW IN FLORIDA. No matter how you look at it, divorce and family law matters are difficult to go through. Expectations of stability are shattered,

mistrust grows, and bills pile up. And then the litigation begins. Attorneys file and serve petitions, counterpetitions, requests to produce, and motions to compel. Each party hires dueling mental health experts to convince a judge that he or she should have more time with the children. Privacy is eliminated as each party’s life is probed and publicly questioned so that one side may gain a tactical advantage.

But there is a different way. A more civilized way. And it is called Collaborative Family Law (also known as Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Practice).

We are a Collaborative law firm dedicated to helping people resolve personal disputes without destroying their families. We encourage the use of the Collaborative Family Law model in divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, post-judgment, prenuptial, and most other family law cases.  Further, Adam B. Cordover is an internationally-recognized leader in Collaborative Practice, a trainer who teaches other professionals how to help families Collaboratively, and author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on Collaborative Law.

Tampa Collaborative Training Registration Now Open

It has been less than one year since Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act has gone into effect.  Now is a perfect time to take a Two-Day Introductory Interdisciplinary Tampa Collaborative Training!

Click Here to Register!

Next Generation Divorce and Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals are co-sponsoring the training to teach more professionals how to help families peacefully and privately to resolve their disputes.  The training will be conducted by the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.

When:

  • Friday, April 6: Sign-in, continental breakfast and networking
    • 7:30 am
  • Friday, April 6: Training
    • 8:30 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday, April 7: Training
    • 9:00 am to 5 pm

Costs:  A fee of $550 ($495 Early Bird) includes breakfast and lunch on both days.  Parking is free.

Continuing Education:  Is being applied for.

Click Here to Register!

Learn more:  Contact Ellen Ware at ellen@warelawgroup.com or Shirin Rustomji at srustomji@shirinlaw.com

ABOUT THE TAMPA COLLABORATIVE TRAINING

What would it feel like to help clients divorce peacefully, privately, and with dignity?  Wouldn’t it be great to consistently work with professionals whom you know, trust, like, and respect?  Learn how to offer Collaborative services and get involved in your Collaborative Law community in this highly engaging two-day Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law training.  This course is intended for attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and others who believe there is a better way to help clients through difficult times.

At our two-day Introductory Training, participants will do the following:

-Learn how and why collaborative practice was developed

-Discover the essential paradigm shift that allows collaborative professionals to succeed

-Review the Uniform Collaborative Law Act or jurisdiction-specific statutes/rules

-Explore and enhance option development techniques

-Identify the distinction between interest-based discussion and positional bargaining

-Obtain a step-by-step guide on how a collaborative case typically proceeds

-Participate in discipline-specific break-outs and Q & A sessions

-Engage in a discussion on collaborative practice and professional ethics

-Exchange ideas on marketing to foster the  development of a collaborative practice

-Learn how to grow and re-energize your local collaborative community

This training meets and exceeds the IACP Minimum Standards for an Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Training

Click Here to Register!

Meet the Trainers

Each member of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers has been a leader in Tampa Bay or adjacent locales and beyond and integral in the tremendous growth of the local and statewide collaborative community.  Each meets and exceeds the IACP Minimum Standards for collaborative trainers.


Adam B. Cordover, J.D., M.A.

2015 Cordover Picture SquareAdam B. Cordover, J.D., M.A., is a collaborative attorney, trainer, and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator who practices exclusively in private dispute resolution in Tampa, Florida.  Adam is Co-Chair of the Research Committee of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”), a Past President of Next Generation Divorce, growing it to become one of the largest collaborative practice groups in the U.S., and a graduate of the IACP Leadership Academy. Adam is co-author with Forrest (Woody) Mosten of an upcoming American Bar Association Book on “Building A Successful Collaborative Law Practice.”

CLICK HERE to View Adam’s Curriculum Vitae

 

 

 


 Kristin E. DiMeo, CPA, ABV

Kristin Headshot

Kristin E. DiMeo, CPA, ABV, has served as the Financial Neutral in over 75 collaborative family law matters in the Tampa Bay area. She is the immediate past Co-Chair of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, past Co-Chair of the Collaborative Law Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and is a member of Next Generation Divorce.

 

 

CLICK HERE to View Kristin’s Curriculum Vitae

 

 


Jeremy S. Gaies, Psy.D.

Dr. J. Gaies photoJeremy S. Gaies, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist and certified mediator who specializes in helping divorcing families pursue peaceful solutions. Dr. Gaies has played a leadership role in advancing the collaborative movement at the local, state, and national level, and is a member of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Next Generation Divorce. Dr. Gaies is also the co-author of “Mindful Co-Parenting: A Child-Friendly Path Through Divorce” and a national speaker on divorce-related parenting matters.

 

CLICK HERE to View Jeremy’s Curriculum Vitae

 

 


Barbara E. Kelly, Ph.D.

 Dr. Kelly is a licensed psychologist and certified family mediator who has been working in the collaborative model for the past ten years.  She brings her experience with the international collaborative community as a member of the IACP Executive Board and working with interdisciplinary collaborative teams to her training of other collaborative practitioners.  She has provided introductory and advanced collaborative trainings locally, nationally, and internationally.

 

 

CLICK HERE to View Barbara’s Curriculum Vitae

 

 


J. David Harper, CPA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CBA, CVA

DH Headshot

David Harper, CPA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CBA, CVA is a leading member of Next Generation Divorce and Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals. He is a contributing author for Adam Cordover’s and Forrest (Woody) Mosten’s upcoming book Building a Successful Collaborative Law Practice.  He has extensive experience serving as financial neutral in collaborative divorce matters as well as joint expert in other family law cases and has presented on a wide range of financial topics including collaborative law, family law financial procedures, business valuation and executive compensation.

CLICK HERE to View David’s Curriculum Vitae

Click Here to Register!

Discernment Counseling

Discernment Counseling: What If Only One Spouse Wants to Divorce?

Are you leaning towards divorce but your spouse is not?  Have you tried couple’s counseling but found that the pressure was all on you to change?  Do you want a time-limited, non-adversarial way to help you and your spouse determine whether it is time to divorce?  If so, you should look into discernment counseling.

Discernment counseling is a way for “mixed agenda” couples to determine what is next.  Mixed agenda refers to the frequent scenario where one spouse is leaning out of the marriage and the other is leaning in.  The couple comes together with a counselor to talk and determine whether they want to repair their marriage or divorce.

Hear from the Founder of Discernment Counseling

Dr. Bill Doherty, the founder of discernment counseling, discusses the method in the video below:

Read more

Mosten: Is Your Divorce Lawyer Informing You?

If you are considering divorce, you likely think that whether you can have an amicable or collaborative divorce depends wholly on your spouse.  Certainly, the attitude and ability of your spouse to compromise has an effect, but in my experience the attorneys that you and your spouse choose has a much bigger impact.

Beginning A Litigation Divorce

If you and your spouse choose attorneys whose primary orientation is litigation, then there is a good chance that you will face a court battle.  Your litigation attorney will likely draft a petition for dissolution of marriage asking for everything, and then have a process server or sheriff’s officer serve your spouse.  These tactics are all intended to intimidate your spouse and get them to submit.

It should be no surprise that this usually elicits the opposite of the intended response.  Not willing to submit, your spouse hires a “bulldog lawyer,” and the battle is on.  Say goodbye to your children’s college saving.  Know that this money will now be going to your lawyers’ children’s college tuition.

Fortunately, there is a different way.

Read more

Video: Tiger Woods, Privacy, and Collaborative Divorce

In 2012, as news of Tiger Woods’ extramarital affairs and his wife’s reaction repeated on TV broadcasts and magazines throughout the world, some professionals stood up and said it does not need to be this way.  You can maintain your privacy and dignity in your family law matter.  You can utilize the collaborative divorce process.

In the video below, Psychologist Ellie Izzo, author of The Bridge to I am: Rapid Advance Psychotherapy and co-author with Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Vicki Carpel Miller of Second Hand Shock: Surviving and Overcoming Vicarious Trauma, discusses collaborative divorce in the wake of the Tiger Woods divorce:

Read more

Collaborative Divorce Is Not Right For You If…

Collaborative divorce is not for everyone.  Sure, most families going through divorce would benefit from the private, secure, and non-adversarial nature of the collaborative process.  However, it may not be right for you if certain things are important to you.

Collaborative divorce is not right for you if…

You are seeking revenge

If you are seeking revenge, collaborative divorce is not right for you.  The collaborative process will not satisfy your need to see your spouse suffer.  This is because, at the beginning of the case, everyone signs a collaborative participation agreement in which the spouses agree to engage in good faith discussions to reach a resolution.  Each spouse has his or her own attorney, and the attorneys are there solely to help the clients reach an agreement.  The attorneys cannot be used for opposition research, lengthy motion practice, or accusatory litigation.

Picture for representational purposeHowever, the attorneys are also there to safeguard the process.  If an attorney believes that his or her client is no longer acting in good faith, or is only attempting to damage the other spouse, the attorney may have the right to terminate the process.  This shuts down behavior meant to harass the other spouse.  If the attorney believes his or her client can put the need for revenge aside, the collaborative process may continue.  If not, the collaborative attorney has a duty to ensure that the process is not being used as a tool for vengeance.

Further, the collaborative process generally involves a neutral facilitator, with a background in communication, childhood development, and family and power dynamics.  The facilitator helps keep conversations productive and forward-focused rather than centered on past grievances.  The facilitator is also there to address power imbalances and shortcut vengeful actions and communications.

Read more

Direnfeld: Settling Parenting Disputes Outside Court

Do you ever wonder how your divorce is affecting your children?  Do you sometimes think about how conflict may be affecting your own mental health, and your ability to effectively parent, or co-parent?

Gary Direnfeld is an internationally known social worker, speaker, and parenting expert based out of Ontario.  He has been an expert witness in many high conflict divorce trials, and yet he is a strong believer that the courtroom is a terrible forum for resolving divorce and parenting disputes.  In the following radio interview, Gary discusses why he believes parenting and divorce-related issues should be resolved outside of court:

You can find a partial transcript, slightly edited for clarity, below:

Roughly 80% of folks going through a separation or divorce are going to settle things between themselves.  They may have some 3rd party assistance.  Twenty percent are going to turn to the courts.  Less than 5%, even if turning to the courts, are going to go to trial.  Most matter settle ahead of a trial.  And then there is that small percentage, that 1, 2, or 3% that really tie up the courts’ time.  And I, for whatever reason, find myself heavily involved with those folks.

***

High conflict parents turn to the court searching for release only to find that in many, many cases, litigation only exacerbates the problems.  It doesn’t resolve them.  And the reason for that is, in turning to the courts, it is often a race to the bottom.  I will prove my case by making you look worse than me, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that.  So the other parent reciprocates in kind.  And then the “he said she said” escalates to such a pitch that it is hard to know one from the other.  

Read more

Co-Mediation And Collaborative Mediation

There are many ways to resolve your divorce issues.  The most well-known option is courtroom divorce.  This is where the spouses spend years battling it out, finding ways to undermine one another.  In the end, a judge tells them who gets what property and where the kids sleep at night.  There is also mediation and collaborative divorce, private forms of dispute resolution.  But two less known methods for resolving your divorce are co-mediation and collaborative mediation.

Co-Mediation

Co-mediation is a way for you and your spouse to resolve disputes outside of court with two or more mediators.  Oftentimes, the mediators have different training and skillsets.  In the co-mediation that Family Diplomacy offers, one co-mediator is an attorney by training.  The other is a therapist or accountant by training.  The co-mediators do not provide legal or financial advice, nor do we engage in therapy.  Rather, in a series of face-to-face meetings, we help develop options that meet your legal, financial, and emotional needs.

Collaborative Mediation

In collaborative mediation, you and your spouse each have your own attorneys.  The attorneys can only represent you in private dispute resolution.  Accordingly, the attorneys spend no time, energy, or money on opposition research, preparing for trial, or encouraging you and your spouse to fight.  The collaborative attorneys provide their clients with legal advice so you can make-well informed decisions.  The neutral mediator or co-mediators help facilitate an agreement and keeps the process moving forward.

You and your spouse have the ultimate say in how you want to use your attorneys in collaborative mediation.  The attorneys can be by your side at each mediation meeting.  Alternatively, the attorneys do not attend mediation but instead provide you with advice outside of meetings or only once the mediator(s) draft up an agreement.  Still, another option is for the attorneys to attend some meetings (like ones focused on financial matters), but not other meetings (i.e., parenting plan discussions).

Co-Mediation and Collaborative Mediation

Co-Mediation and Collaborative MediationRachel Moskowitz, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with whom I frequently co-mediate, recently wrote an article for Commentator Magazine.  The article describes a case study in which we had a co-mediation that turned into a collaborative mediation.  You can find an excerpt of the article below.

Read more

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

How Often Do Collaborative Divorces Terminate?

Good, you have decided that if you are going to divorce, you are going to do it collaboratively.  This means that you and your spouse will each have your own attorneys, but the attorneys are not there to fight.  You hire the attorneys to help reach an out-of-court agreement so you can move on with your lives.

But you may also know that either spouse at any time can decide they no longer want to participate in the collaborative divorce, causing it to terminate.  All professionals are automatically fired.  The spouses then proceed as “opposing parties” in the traditional divorce court route.

The possibility of losing your attorney is a scary notion.  So, you may be wondering to yourself, how often do collaborative divorces terminate?

Read more

Video: Ron Ousky on Hiring A Family-Focused Divorce Lawyer

When determining which attorney to hire for your divorce, you may be tempted to believe that your best option is to hire an overly-aggressive lawyer.  But is that truly going to benefit you and your family?  Do you want to make your spouse “the enemy” and make your children collateral damage?  Well, there is another option.  Instead, you can hire a family-focused divorce lawyer.

In the video below, Minnesota collaborative attorney Ron Ousky, former president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, discusses, among other things, why you should consider hiring a family-focused divorce lawyer.

Read more

Cordover & Gaies Present on LGBTQ Families & Relationships

On August 11, 2017, psychologist and collaborative facilitator Jeremy Gaies joined collaborative attorney and mediator Adam B. Cordover to present on the topic of “LGBTQ Relationships:  The New Family and Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution.”  Gaies and Cordover facilitated the LGBTQ families workshop at the 25th Annual Conference of Florida’s Dispute Resolution Center.

fdrc_webbanner_togo

Purpose of LGBTQ Families Workshop

The purpose of the workshop was threefold:

  1. Identify specific legal and other considerations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals and families;
  2. Engage in discussion of various out-of-court options to meet LGBTQ needs; and
  3. Consider new and future legal challenges for LGBTQ clients and the family law community.

Read more