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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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?

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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.

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Pensacola Introductory & Advanced Collaborative Training November 2-4

Did you know that there was a major change to Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes regarding Collaborative Family Law?  Are you confident that you can competently abide by Florida’s new Collaborative Law Rule of Professional Conduct and Rule of Procedure?  Or do you just want to learn how to help people divorce in a less stressful, more respectful, and child-centered manner?

Attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and others are welcomed to Pensacola for an Introductory and Advanced training on Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

What/When:  

  • Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Training – November 2-3, 2017
  • Enrolling the Collaborative Case Advanced Training – November 4, 2017

Where:  Pensacola, Florida

Cost:

  • $500 for 2-Day Introductory Training
  • $200 for Advanced Training (Enrolling the Collaborative Case)
  • Discounted rate of $650 for all 3 days

Host:  West Florida Collaborative Law, Inc.

Trainers:  Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers

Learn more: Contact John Susko, Esq. at john@susko-collab-med.com OR Joshua Jones, Esq., at jjones@westfloridacollaborativelaw.com

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

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IACP Collaborative Law Practice

Video: A Client’s View of Collaborative Divorce

After you decide to divorce, the question of how you divorce can be one of the most consequential decisions you make. You have choices.  Many people hire a trial lawyer  and go the traditional litigation route to fight it out in court.  Usually they do this because they don’t know there are options.

In most cases, the single most humane and effective option out there is collaborative divorce.  In collaborative divorce, you receive the support of your own attorney, but the attorneys are not there to fight.  Rather, they are there to work together and help you figure out the best way for you and your spouse to move on with your lives as quickly, peacefully, and efficiently as possible.  Other professionals are utilized to ensure everyone focuses on the future rather than the arguments that led to the divorce, as well as to aid in financial transparency.

In the video below, produced by the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a former husband, Nick, discusses his collaborative divorce:

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Pictures: Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals 2017 Conference

In June 2017, the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals held its fifth annual conference right here in Tampa.  The theme of the conference was “Get In On The Act,” in celebration of the recent passage of the Collaborative Law Process Act.

Over 200 attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, and others attended the conference to delve into introductory, intermediate, and advanced topics in collaborative practice.  There were also quite a few attendees from outside of Florida, from areas as far away as Erie, Pennsylvania and Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover presented for two of the workshops at the conference:

  • Collaborative Unscripted: The Role of Creativity in the Process (with Kristin DiMeo, CPA; Jeremy Gaies, Psy.D.; David Harper, CPA; and Barbara Kelly, Ph.D.); and
  • The Cost of Collaboration: Efficiency vs. Cutting Corners (with Brian Galbraith, LL.B., LL.M.; and Melissa Sulkowski, M.A., LPC)

You can find pictures of the conference below:

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Video: Collaborative Professionals Discuss New Collaborative Law & Rules

In the video below, from the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals discuss the new collaborative divorce statutes and rules:

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Collaborative Law Rules at Florida Supreme Court

Collaborative Divorce Attorneys Held To A Higher Standard

Collaborative divorce attorneys have traditionally gone through specialized training that teaches them cutting edge methods in peaceful and private dispute resolution.  As part of this training, we have taken to heart the Florida Supreme Court’s call to provide families facing matrimonial disputes with “therapeutic  justice,” which the Court described as follows:

Collaborative Divorce AttorneysTherapeutic justice is a process that attempts to address the family’s interrelated legal and nonlegal problems to produce a result that improves the family’s functioning. The process should empower families through skills development, assist them to resolve their own disputes, provide access to appropriate services, and offer a variety of dispute resolution forums where the family can resolve problems without additional emotional trauma.

In re Report of the Family Law Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518, 522 (Fla. 2001).

Just this past weekend, on July 1, 2017, Rule 4-1.19 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar went into effect.  The Rule, concerning the Collaborative Law Process in Family Law, holds collaborative divorce attorneys to a higher standard than divorce lawyers who do not offer collaborative services.  But for those of us who have been practicing this form of therapeutic justice, we have already been meeting these standards up until now on a voluntary basis.

Higher Standards for Collaborative Divorce Attorneys

Unlike traditional divorce lawyers, Rule 4-1.19 requires collaborative attorneys to do the following:

  • Explain to clients that they have choices (such as litigation, mediation, and collaborative law) in how to divorce;

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Video: Financial Planner Recommends Collaborative Divorce

Resolving Disputes Respectfully

Collaborative Practice

For quite some time, attorneys and mental health professionals have been striving to let the public know that there is a better way to dissolve a marriage:  collaborative divorce.  Parents do not need to put their children through the horrors of a courtroom custody battle.  They can enter into the collaborative process and make decisions in a non-adversarial, private environment where they have the support they need.

Now financial planners are also extolling the benefits of the collaborative process.  In the short video below, Justin Reckers, a Certified Financial Planner and CEO of Wellspring Divorce Advisors discusses the collaborative divorce process.

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