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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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Cordover Leads Workshop At International Collaborative Conference

Tampa attorney Adam B. Cordover lead a workshop at the 17th Annual Educational and Networking Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”).  The Forum took place in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, and was attended by hundreds of attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and other supportive of helping families resolve disputes respectfully and privately via the collaborative process.

Cordover lead the workshop alongside Barrie, Ontario lawyer Brian Galbraith and Seattle, Washington attorney Kevin Scudder.  The program was called “Collaborative Multiverse,” and the idea was to lead a townhall-style debate and discussion among experienced collaborative practitioners on issues affecting collaborative practice.

Brian Galbraith, Adam B. Cordover, and Kevin Scudder at the 17th Annual IACP Forum (2016)

One topic that was discussed was determining the best collaborative model to use for each particular family.  Different parts of the world predominantly use different arrangements of professionals to resolve divorce and other issues.  In Florida, the main model that is used is known as the Neutral Facilitator model, where each party has an attorney, a neutral facilitator with a mental health licensure helps with parenting issues and ensures discussions are future-focused, and a neutral financial professional aids in creating family budgets and ensures financial transparency and disclosure.

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Vegas, Baby! IACP Forum Early Bird Pricing Ends 8/17

For any collaborative professional looking to expense a trip to Vegas, look no further than the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”) Networking and Educational Forum, taking place October 27-30, 2016, in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada.  And early bird pricing ends August 17, 2016, so you should sign up right away!

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The theme is “Welcome to the Future,” and 600 collaborative professionals from 27 countries are expected to attend.  There will be 8 in-demand Pre-Forum Institutes led by premier educators in the Collaborative community (including Pauline Tesler and Ron Ousky) as well as 30 intensive and intriguing workshops including 10 three-hour courses.

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Video 2: Catherine Conner on Building a Collaborative Practice Group

Before Catherine Conner was president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, she was the president of the Redwood Empire collaborative practice group, one of the leading practice groups in the nation.  In 2008, Catherine taped a series of videos for Cutting Edge Law on creating and building a collaborative practice group.

You can find video 2 of 3 after the jump (and video 1 here and video 3 here):

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Video: Catherine Conner on Creating A Collaborative Practice Group

A collaborative practice group is a network of independent professionals who promote the use of the collaborative process to resolve disputes outside of court.  A practice group is similar to a local bar association (i.e. Hillsborough County Bar Association, St. Pete Bar Association, etc.), in that it provides an opportunity for professionals to get to know one another and to increase their skills so that they can better serve clients.  Practice groups are oftentimes also used to help educate the public about this form of alternative dispute resolution that is most often utilized in divorce and family law matters.

In 2008, Cutting Edge Law interviewed Catherin Conner, a California attorney and immediate past president of the Redwood Empire practice group, on creating a practice group.  You can find part 1 of 3 videos after the jump (and 2 of 3 here and 3 of 3 here; the other video will come in later posts and are also available on the Cutting Edge Law website):

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Pauline Tesler on Stu Webb (from 1999)

Stu Webb is known as the father of collaborative family law, a non-adversarial process where the spouses’ attorneys agree to focus solely on out-of-court dispute resolution.  Pauline Tesler is oftentimes thought of as the mother of collaborative divorce, emphasizing the benefits of an interdisciplinary team and spearheading the creation of institutions, such as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”), to help more families.

Back in 1999, Pauline wrote an article in the very first edition of the Collaborative Quarterly (requires IACP membership & password to access), a publication of the IACP (then known as the American Institute of Collaborative Professionals) about Stu Webb and the origins of collaborative law.

You can find excerpts from that article below:

Stuart Webb, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, had been practicing family law in the “usual way” for more than twenty years when, like many of us, he became interested during the late 1980’s in mediation and alternative dispute resolution….

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Video: Collaborative Practice in Brazil

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new concept in Tampa.  It is counterintuitive to think that attorneys would promote a concept that keeps divorcing spouses out of court.  Further, who would think that attorneys would be willing to take a step back, and allow (i) mental health professionals to take the lead in emotional divorce discussions and (ii) financial professionals to be the point people on the division of assets and debts and other support topics.

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And, yet, that is what collaborative lawyers do.

Collaborative practice is growing around the world, including in Brazil.  Below is a video in Portuguese that discusses collaborative divorce in Brazil:

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Video: Stu Webb’s Collaborative Divorce & Jazz

Stu Webb is an attorney from Minnesota who one day decided that he no longer wanted to be involved in the destruction of divorce court, and so he created collaborative divorce.  Collaborative divorce is a private process where spouses become teammates rather than opposing parties, and attorneys focus on problem-solving rather than fighting.

Oftentimes accountants, psychologists, financial planners, therapists, and others are used to make sure that not just the legal needs, but also the emotional and financial needs of the spouses are met.

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Collaborative Divorce has become more common here in Tampa Bay as families and attorneys realize that the court system should be seen as a forum of last resort, rather than first resort, to resolve personal issues.

Now, as it turns out, Stu Webb is not only the founder of collaborative divorce, but he is also an avid fan of Jazz.  You can find a short video he helped create comparing collaborative divorce to jazz after the jump.

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Radio: Can Therapy Save A Marriage?

I recently attended the 16th Annual Forum of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and I had the opportunity to attend a workshop led by Gary Direnfeld, a social worker and collaborative professional in Ontario, Canada.  He was an excellent speaker and was discussing cutting edge ideas on helping families.

Gary was recently on a radio program to discuss an age-old question: Can therapy help save a marriage?

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Video: 25 Years of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce and family law began 25 years ago, in 1990, when a Minnesota attorney named Stu Webb decided that he simply no longer wanted to be part of an adversarial divorce process.  He strongly felt that divorce did not belong in the court system: decisions about where children should sleep at night should be made by the parents, and discussions of financial issues should happen around a private conference room table rather than in a public courtroom.

And so, he developed collaborative divorce, where parties agree from the very beginning that their collaborative attorneys cannot be used to fight it out in the court system.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals has put out a video commemorating 25 years of collaborative practice.  You can find the video below the jump.

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