General information on dissolution of marriage

What Is The Least Expensive Way To Divorce In Tampa Bay?

You have probably heard of divorce horror stories where couples have suffered for years entrenched in court battles and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.  Fortunately, this is more the exception  than the rule, but still, divorce usually is not cheap.  It is a process, and there are raw emotions involved, but there are methods that can cost more or less.

So what is the least expensive way to divorce?

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Jewish Prenuptial Agreements for Mutual Respect

In Judaism, like in many religions, marriage is not only a union between two partners, but it is the intertwining of two souls.  However, according to Chabad.org, just as G-d prescribes a way to fuse two souls, G-d has also provided detailed instructions on how the souls can be reverted to the state of independence.

A divorce in Jewish law is formalized by a get, which is a dated and witnessed document within which the husband states his unqualified intention to divorce his wife.  If a husband does not provide his wife with a get, then the couple is not considered divorce, and so the wife cannot get remarried.

According to ITIM, an organization that helps people navigate the religious authorities’ bureaucracy in Israel, “Unfortunately, the get has become a tool for expressing anger and revenge and is a weapon in the hands of the one member of the couple who refuses to grant or receive the get and locks in (‘anchors’) the other party.  Such anchoring is especially problematic for a woman since it prevents her remarriage.”

To prevent the problems that come with a man refusing to provide his wife with a get, in May 2006, the Rabbinical Council of America reiterated a previous resolution that “no rabbi should officiate at a wedding where a proper prenuptial agreement on get has not been executed.”  Further, as a deterrent to get-refusal, the International Young Israel Movement, Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel, and the Beth Din of America suggest the use of a Prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect.

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Video: The Collaborative Way to Divorce with Stu Webb & Ron Ousky

Stu Webb is the founder of collaborative law, also referred to as collaborative divorce.  And sometimes, it is refreshing to listen to his view of the process:  “Collaborative law is different in that it is a method in a divorce situation to get an agreement…by working with two lawyers all in the context of not going to court…There is a commitment on the part of the lawyers that they will not go to court.”  Stu made these statements in a video entitled “The Collaborative Way to Divorce,” which demonstrates what a collaborative divorce can look like, with commentary.

Joining Stu is Ron Ousky, a former president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.  “What I ask clients [who are going through collaborative divorce] to think about is, ‘What is going to matter to you 20 years from now when you look back?  What are the things that you are going to care about,'” asks Ron.  “And usually they will say things like, ‘I want my children to be healthy.  I want to be able to get through this emotionally.  I want to get through this financially.’  Sometimes they’ll say, ‘I want to make sure my spouse gets through it right.  I want to make sure sure we end this with some dignity.’  Often when you get clients to focus on goals, you’ll find that they have shared goals, common goals.  They probably have more in common than they differ on.”

 

You can find the video after the jump.

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Collaborative Divorce and Small Businesses

Divorce is one of life’s most difficult tests.  The stress that the traditional adversarial litigation divorce can have on employees cost business owners countless dollars every year.  Further, a private business is seen by Florida law as a potential marital asset, to be divided in divorce just like 401(k)’s, jewelry, or furniture.  When a business is put in the spotlight of a traditional courtroom divorce, Florida’s sunshine laws dictate that the remains of the business can be picked apart in detail by competitors sifting through a public court file.

Small Business & Collaborative Divorce Graphic

Collaborative family law (also known as collaborative divorce), by contrast, is non-adversarial.  The spouses’ attorneys are not seen as “opposing counsel,” but rather as teammates.  The clients themselves are not seen as “opposing parties,” but rather as co-parents or simply people looking to transition to the next stage of their lives.

Collaborative attorneys can only help the spouses reach an out-of-court settlement, so no time, money, or energy is spent on opposition research, dirty litigation tactics, or preparing for a costly trial.  This greatly reduces the stress on spouses and mitigates productivity losses.

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Veterans, Divorce, and Honor

As we memorialize those who died while serving in the armed forces, we also thank the living men and women who protected our freedom.

According to Florida’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, there are more than 1.5 million veterans living in the state.  And, unfortunately, just like the rest of the population, many of those who served in the military face a dissolution of their marriage.  Yet, many veterans do not know that there is a way they can go through divorce which is private, respectful, and, yes, even honorable.

Hugging the kids

Any veteran going through divorce should learn about the collaborative process.

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Video: Child Wants Divorcing Parents to be Friends

When most people go through divorce, they are consumed by their emotions.  No matter how you look at it, divorce is a trauma.  However, people oftentimes forget how the divorce is affecting children.  And they forget that children are keenly aware of how parents treat one another during divorce.

A video that has been going around the internet lately shows a little girl talking to her mom about how she wants her divorcing parents to be friends and treat each other well.  You can find the video after the jump.

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Full Service Pro Se Mediation For Less Than $2,500

If you are going through divorce, you should retain an attorney.  Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice that serves your interests.

However, many people, for whatever reason, choose not to hire a lawyer.  And yet, they need help reaching an agreement and filling out all the appropriate paperwork.  For those people, Family Diplomacy offers Pro Se Mediation, also known as mediation without lawyers.

In Pro Se Mediation, Adam B. Cordover will serve as a neutral mediator to help you and your spouse reach an agreement.  As Adam is not acting as a lawyer, he cannot provide legal advice to either spouse.  Pro Se Mediation is a private and cost-effective method to resolve issues related to divorce, and it can be done for a total cost of less than $2,500.

Here is how:

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Divorce Without Lawyers – A Mediation Option in Tampa Bay

If you are going through divorce, you should have a lawyer.  Divorce is one of life’s traumatic moments, and it is smart to have a steady hand to advise you during uncertain times.

However, you don’t need to have a lawyer to get divorced.

Florida Supreme Court Mediator

You have the option of going through pro se mediation (mediation without legal representation).

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2016 Florida Alimony Reform Bill Vetoed

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Florida Governor Rick Scott has vetoed SB 668, a bill that was intended to make large-scale changes to the state’s alimony and child custody laws.

Rick Scott (cropped).jpg

For the first time, the bill was set to create alimony guidelines that calculated a presumptive range for the amount and length of spousal support.  Further, the bill would have directed judges, when establishing custody schedules, to start out with the premise that each parent should have approximately an equal amount of time with children.

It was that second point that seemed to be the sticking point for Governor Scott.

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Collaborative Law Process Act Protects Families’ Privacy

Last Friday, the Florida Senate passed its version of HB-967, the Collaborative Law Process Act, priming Florida to become the 14th state to pass a version of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act.

The bill, which was voted on in the Florida Senate by 39-0 after passing the Florida House last month by 117-0, is now enrolled and expected to be signed by the governor.  At the earliest, the Collaborative Law Process Act becomes binding on July 1, 2016.  However, it may take longer, as the bill itself states that it will not go into effect until 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court adopts Rules of Procedure and Rules of Professional Responsibility consistent with the bill.  It is my understanding that proposed rules have been provided or will be provided to the Supreme Court.

[Update: On March 24, 2016, Governor Scott Signed the Collaborative Law Process Act]

The Collaborative Law Process Act, which applies to divorce, paternity, and other family law matters, does several things:

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