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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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Bitcoin and Divorce

Bitcoin and Divorce

Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency that is not controlled by any government but rather is decentralized.  It is oftentimes referred to as a “cryptocurrency” as it is not physical.  Bitcoins are maintained in virtual “wallets” and can be transferred via QR codes.

The video below from the Wall Street Journal further explains Bitcoin:

As Bitcoin is becoming more popular, it should not be surprising that is showing up in divorce cases.  So what happens to Bitcoins in divorce?

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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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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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Video: FACP Collaborative Divorce Roundtable

I recently got together with Dr. Jim Morris, a psychologist from Clearwater, and Ed Sachs, a certified public accountant based out of Miami, for a roundtable discussion on collaborative divorce.  Dr. Morris is co-author of Mindful Co-Parenting: A Child-Friendly Path Through Divorce, and Mr. Sachs is Vice President of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”).

You can find the video of the roundtable discussion, recorded for the FACP, after the jump:

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Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Collaborative practice is a form of private dispute resolution where parties and their attorneys agree that they will focus all of their time, energy, and money on reaching an agreement.  Oftentimes, experts in the realm of accounting, finances, and relationships are brought in to help the parties.

Collaborative practice has mainly been used in the area of divorce and family law as an alternative to public courtroom fights.  What is less well known is that it is also being used in the civil law arena to resolve wills, trusts, and guardianship disputes, insurance and malpractice matters, and business dissolutions.

Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals

In recognition of the growing role of collaborative practice in civil areas, in 2015 the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida, a statewide umbrella group with over 450 members, changed its name to the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”).  The FACP also recently unveiled its newly redesigned website, which is accessible at http://www.collaborativepracticeflorida.com/.

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Family Diplomacy Proud Sponsor of WUSF / NPR

Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm is now a proud sponsor of WUSF, Tampa Bay’s local National Public Radio (“NPR”) partner.

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You may periodically hear on NPR that “Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm reminds you that divorce need not be destructive.  More information about collaborative divorce can be found at (813) 443-0615 or FamilyDiplomacy.com.”

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Video 3: Catherine Conner on Structuring A Collaborative Practice Group

In a series of videos for Cutting Edge Law taped in 2008, leading collaborative lawyer Catherine Conner discusses creating, building, and structuring a collaborative practice group.  Catherine Conner is one of the founders and a former president of the Collaborative Council of the Redwood Empire, a collaborative practice group out of California, and Catherine would go on to become president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

A collaborative practice group is a network of independent professionals dedicated to helping people resolve disputes outside of court via the collaborative process.  The collaborative process is a form of alternative dispute resolution where each party has an attorney, and the parties sign a written agreement that says that their attorneys will only be focused on resolving their dispute privately; the attorneys cannot be used by the parties to fight in court against one another.

Some collaborative practice groups only have attorneys as members, while other practice group are interdisciplinary and also include mental health professionals and financial professionals.  Some practice groups promote the use of the collaborative process in all sorts of civil matters such as employment law, contract disputes, business dissolution, medical malpractice, or other matters, while other practice groups focus on one area of the law, such as family law.

You can find Catherine’s video on structuring a collaborative practice group after the jump:

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Do You Need A Divorce Second Opinion?

As the New Year is upon us, many people are reflecting upon the past year and determining what changes need to be made for the coming year.  If you have been going through a tough, litigious divorce in Florida in 2015, perhaps it is time to reassess your divorce strategy and divorce process.

According to the traditional family law model, divorce is a zero-sum game where each party hires attack dog lawyers. The lawyers not only show their client in a positive light but also tear the other party down.  Traditional divorce lawyers engage in damaging opposition research, through depositions, interrogatories, requests for production of documents and things, and requests for admissions.  Of course, the other attorney defends against opposition research with objections, motions for protective orders, and discovery requests in response.

Traditional divorce lawyers then set public hearings on motions to compel, motions for contempt, and motions for attorneys’ fees and costs.  Even after these motions are heard, parties may still be years away from a final trial.

Does this sound familiar?  Are you unhappy about the path that your divorce has taken?  If so, you may want to consider getting a second opinion on your divorce.

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