Tampa’s Chief Judge Manuel Menendez has signed Administrative Order S-2012-041 endorsing the collaborative model of alternative dispute resolution for divorce and other family law cases in Hillsborough County. From the administrative order:
The Florida Supreme Court recognized that family cases needed “a system that provided nonadversarial alternatives and flexibility of alternatives; a system that preserved rather than destroyed family relationships;…and a system that facilitated the process chosen by the parties.” In re Report of the Family Law Steering Committee, 749 So. 2d 518, 523 (Fla. 2001).
The Florida Supreme Court’s acceptance of recommendations for a model family court is consistent with the principles of the collaborative practice model because the collaborative process empowers parties to make their own decisions guided and assisted by counsel in a setting outside of court. The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit supports the philosophy that the interdisciplinary collaborative model may be a suitable alternative to full scale adversarial litigation in family law cases if the parties agree to such a model.