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Collaborative Law Rules at Florida Supreme Court

Collaborative Law Rules Approved by Florida Supreme Court

On May 18, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court published an opinion approving collaborative law rules.  The collaborative law rules are the last step necessary before Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act goes into effect.

The opinion approves Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.19 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.745.

Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.19

Florida Bar Rule 4-1.19 is a rule of professional conduct.  It creates certain obligations of attorneys representing clients within the collaborative process.  Among other things, the rule requires collaborative lawyers to do the following when contemplating collaborative practice with a client:

  • Provide sufficient information about the benefits and risks of the collaborative process;
  • Explain alternatives to the collaborative process, including litigation and mediation;

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Collaborative Divorce in Tampa Bay

What Is Next Generation Divorce?

If you have done internet searches for collaborative divorce in Tampa Bay or Greater Sarasota, you have likely come across the website for Next Generation Divorce (you can find the link here).  Next Generation Divorce has many members who are family law attorneys, but it is not a law firm.  It has members who are psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social workers, but it is not a therapy-related organization.  And it has members who are financial planners and C.P.A.’s, but it is not a financial planning or accounting firm.

Next Generation Divorce

Member of Next Generation Divorce

So what is Next Generation 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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Collabortive Professionals Honor Florida Legislators

Two hundred members of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”) gathered in Tampa to honor Florida legislators and others for their leadership in passing the Collaborative Law Process Act (“CLPA”).  The CLPA, among other things, protects the privacy of families going through divorce.  It creates a statutory privilege (like the attorney-client privilege) that, except under limited circumstances, ensures that what is said during a collaborative divorce process cannot be used against a spouse in court.

In 2016, Senator Tom Lee introduced the CLPA bill in the Florida Senate.  Representative Cyndi Stevenson, with the support of Representative Dana Young, introduced a version in Florida’s House of Representatives.  All three were given awards by Florida’s statewide collaborative organization for helping to protect Florida’s families via the CLPA.

 

 

Pictured, from left to right, are Senator Tom Lee, Cole Jeffries, Robert Merlin, Judge Laurel Lee, Representative Dana Young, and Representative Cyndi Stevenson.

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Unique Forms of Collaborative Law in Tampa Bay

Collaborative practice is not just for divorce.  It is most commonly associated with divorce, but it can be used as a non-adversarial, private form of dispute resolution in many different scenarios.  Further, there are many cases where a divorce does not begin collaboratively, and yet ends up in the collaborative process.

Below are links to posts written by Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover on unique forms of collaborative practice in Tampa Bay:

A Complicated Divorce Goes Collaborative

http://familydiplomacy.com/blog/family-law-news/client-review-a-complicated-divorce-goes-collaborative/

Do You Need a Divorce Second Opinion?

http://familydiplomacy.com/blog/collaborative-divorce/do-you-need-a-divorce-second-opinion/

Collaborative Law in Medical Malpractice

http://familydiplomacy.com/blog/collaborative-divorce/video-collaborative-law-in-medical-malpractice/

Polyamorous Divorce in Tampa Bay

http://familydiplomacy.com/blog/lgbt-family-law-matters/polyamorous-divorce-in-tampa-bay/

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Client Review: Collaborative Divorce Handled Efficiently and with Kindness

Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm strives to serve its clients with compassion and respect.  Especially when clients are facing the most difficult times, we are there to serve as a reliable and constructive resource.

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

A client on Avvo.com recently reviewed her collaborative divorce experience.  You can find the review after the jump.

Please note that each case is different, and you may not receive the same or similar results.

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Cordover Guest Speaker at Clearwater Bar Association Meeting

On April 13, 2016, collaborative attorney Adam B. Cordover was a guest speaker at a meeting of the Clearwater Bar Association Family Law Section.  Cordover presented alongside Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Collaborative Facilitator Linda Peterman and Merrill Lynch Certified Financial Planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Jim Spicer on “Collaborative Family Law – Offering A Cutting Edge Alternative to Courtroom Divorce.”

Collaborative divorce is a private form of alternative dispute resolution where the spouses and their attorneys work together to respectfully reach an agreement that is acceptable to both.  Rather than focus on the arguments of the past, collaborative attorneys coach their clients to focus on the future and on what is most important to them, such as the health and well-being of their children.

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Florida Trend Article Features Cordover and Collaborative Law

The April 2016 edition of Florida Trend Magazine featured Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover in an article on Collaborative Divorce.  The article, titled “Avoiding a Fracas with Collaborative Divorce” (subscription required), described benefits and drawbacks of collaborative practice for executives and business owners.

You can find excerpts from the article below:

Last July, five years after launching his practice, divorce attorney Adam Cordover decided he was finished going to court.  “I’d spent most of my career fighting in court for clients and had seen the devastating effects.  I’d seen clients literally go crazy,” says Cordover.  “I decided I no longer wanted to be part of it.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Trend#/media/File:Florida_Trend_June_2012_Cover.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Trend#/media/File:Florida_Trend_June_2012_Cover.jpg

He converted his firm to a litigation-free practice focused on what’s known as collaborative law.  In a collaborative divorce, a couple agrees to settle their differences outside the courtroom through negotiations.

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Tampa Tribune Publishes Cordover Letter on Collaborative Divorce

The March 31, 2016 edition of the Tampa Tribune published a Letter to the Editor penned by Family Diplomacy Managing Attorney Adam B. Cordover on the newly signed Florida Collaborative Law Process Act (“CLPA”).  You can find the Letter to the Editor below:

LETTER OF THE DAY:  TAKING THE FIGHTING OUT OF DIVORCE

Recent bills passed by the Florida Legislature reforming alimony and changing child time-sharing laws have received a lot of attention, but something that has flown under the radar is the passage of the Collaborative Law Process Act (CLPA). Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill on March 24 after a seven-year effort by licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and other family advocates.

 

The CLPA applies to divorce and other family law matters, and it creates a uniform system for the practice of collaborative law (also sometimes referred to as collaborative divorce, collaborative practice or the collaborative process).

The goal of collaborative law is to take the fighting out of divorce. Each spouse retains an attorney for the sole purpose of reaching an out-of-court agreement. Collaborative attorneys are barred from wasting any of the clients’ energy, time or money on opposition research, discovery motions or preparing for trial.

Collaborative law often involves a neutral facilitator with a mental health licensure. This is in recognition of the fact that divorce is not just a legal process, but it is predominately an emotional process. The facilitator helps parents learn to communicate and focus on what is most important to them, such as the health and welfare of their children.

Governor Scott Signs Florida Collaborative Divorce Bill Into Law

On March 24, 2016, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 967, the “Collaborative Law Process Act,” making Florida the 14th state to have Collaborative Divorce codified in its laws.

Collaborative Divorce is a private form of dispute resolution where the parties agree from the outset to settle all matters outside of court.  Each party has his or her own attorney, and the attorneys are there solely to help the parties reach an agreement that is tailored for that family.  The attorneys are forbidden from engaging in opposition research or preparing for costly trials.

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