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Co-Mediation And Collaborative Mediation

There are many ways to resolve your divorce issues.  The most well-known option is courtroom divorce.  This is where the spouses spend years battling it out, finding ways to undermine one another.  In the end, a judge tells them who gets what property and where the kids sleep at night.  There is also mediation and collaborative divorce, private forms of dispute resolution.  But two less known methods for resolving your divorce are co-mediation and collaborative mediation.

Co-Mediation

Co-mediation is a way for you and your spouse to resolve disputes outside of court with two or more mediators.  Oftentimes, the mediators have different training and skillsets.  In the co-mediation that Family Diplomacy offers, one co-mediator is an attorney by training.  The other is a therapist or accountant by training.  The co-mediators do not provide legal or financial advice, nor do we engage in therapy.  Rather, in a series of face-to-face meetings, we help develop options that meet your legal, financial, and emotional needs.

Collaborative Mediation

In collaborative mediation, you and your spouse each have your own attorneys.  The attorneys can only represent you in private dispute resolution.  Accordingly, the attorneys spend no time, energy, or money on opposition research, preparing for trial, or encouraging you and your spouse to fight.  The collaborative attorneys provide their clients with legal advice so you can make-well informed decisions.  The neutral mediator or co-mediators help facilitate an agreement and keeps the process moving forward.

You and your spouse have the ultimate say in how you want to use your attorneys in collaborative mediation.  The attorneys can be by your side at each mediation meeting.  Alternatively, the attorneys do not attend mediation but instead provide you with advice outside of meetings or only once the mediator(s) draft up an agreement.  Still, another option is for the attorneys to attend some meetings (like ones focused on financial matters), but not other meetings (i.e., parenting plan discussions).

Co-Mediation and Collaborative Mediation

Co-Mediation and Collaborative MediationRachel Moskowitz, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with whom I frequently co-mediate, recently wrote an article for Commentator Magazine.  The article describes a case study in which we had a co-mediation that turned into a collaborative mediation.  You can find an excerpt of the article below.

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Collaborative Mediation

What is Collaborative Mediation?

If you are getting divorced, you want to move forward as peacefully, quickly, and cost-effectively as possible.  And so you should learn about collaborative mediation.

Mediation

Collaborative mediation is a combination of two forms of private dispute resolution: mediation and collaborative divorce.  In mediation, you meet face-to-face with your spouse along with a neutral mediator (or co-mediators).  The mediator does not decide issues for you.  Rather, the mediator is there to facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse.

What is said during mediation is private and confidential.  This means that statements or offers made in mediation cannot be used against you later in court.  This confidentiality is protected by the Florida Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act (Florida Statutes §§ 44.401-44.406).

Though the mediator can help you and your spouse reach an agreement, he or she cannot provide you with legal advice.  The mediator, for example, cannot tell you if you are making a good or bad deal.

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Cordover Presents on Collaborative Divorce for the Middle Class

On August 24, 2016, Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover spoke in Jacksonville, Florida, on the topic of “Collaborative Divorce for the Middle Class.”  The workshop was organized by the Collaborative Family Law Group of Northeast Florida.

2016-08-24 Jacksonville Collaborative Presentation - Cordover

Collaborative divorce is a process that is available to help families privately and respectfully reach agreements no matter their income level or size of their estate.  Though it has been thought of as alternative dispute resolution for the rich (and it certainly is an effective method for handling complicated cases), more middle class families are learning that it is accessible for them, as well.

If both spouses can hire attorneys, then the question becomes not whether they can afford collaborative practice, but whether they can afford any billable hours being spent on anything other than trying to reach an out-of-court agreement.

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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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Face-to-Face Mediation

I have noticed lately that there is a trend among divorce mediators in Tampa Bay: keep spouses separate from one another.  This is known as “caucus”-style mediation, where the spouses are kept in separate rooms from the very beginning of mediation, and the mediator travels back and forth between the rooms relaying information and offers.

There is a good reason why many great mediators prefer caucus-style mediation.  As divorce is a highly-emotional process, spouses can set each other off when they are facing one another, and negotiations can descend into argument and cease being productive.

I can see where caucus-style mediation may be appropriate for some families, but it is not my preferred method.

acordover_logoRather, when I act as the neutral mediator, I prefer to practice face-to-face mediation.

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Florida Supreme Court Certifies Adam B. Cordover As Family Mediator

 

Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Family Mediator.  Certification is reserved for those who meet the Florida Supreme Court’s qualifications, attend a 40-hour mediation course, and engage in observations and co-mediations for training purposes.

Florida Supreme Court Mediator

 

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