Sarasota Collaborative Divorce Office – We Moved!

We are excited to share the new location of our Sarasota Collaborative Divorce Office.  Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm is now located at 1858 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 110, Sarasota, Florida 34236.  Our beautiful new location is in the Bank of Tampa building right on the edge of Downtown Sarasota.  Our Sarasota office offers, among other services, Collaborative Divorce, Mediation, Prenuptial Agreement, Unbundled Legal Services, Adoption, and Legal Name Change.  We offer a warm, supportive environment for those in the LGBTQ+ community facing family law matters, as well as anyone else looking for private, amicable solutions  when facing tough decisions affecting your family.

Sarasota Collaborative Divorce Office

Our Sarasota office is available by appointment.  We also offer a discounted rate for those who do not feel the need to meet in person and are comfortable interacting via Zoom videoconferencing software, telephone, e-mail, and other virtual means.   This also enables us to represent clients throughout the State of Florida, regardless of location.  Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm practices exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, because we care about Florida’s families.

Below are some pictures of our new Sarasota office (click a picture to enlarge):

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Can I Get A Discount For Virtual Divorce Legal Services?

If you are facing divorce and have done your research, you probably realize how expensive divorce can be.  Not only are you charged for your attorney’s time spent engaging in the actual legal work, but it is also common practice for you to be charged for travel time to go to hearings, mediation sessions, or Collaborative Divorce meetings at the lawyer’s regular hourly rate.  Further, firms that practice mainly in person incur additional expenses including leasing larger office space, renting additional equipment, and purchasing additional office snacks, drinks, and supplies.  And, of course, those expenses get passed on to you, the client.

But what if you were comfortable working with your lawyer through Zoom, telephone calls, e-mails, and other virtual means, and you did not feel the need to meet in person?  Since it ends up costing less for the law firm, shouldn’t you get a discount for virtual divorce legal services?

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How to Smartly Negotiate Your Divorce

Divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences, requiring emotional resilience and practical decision-making. When navigating the complex terrain of divorce negotiations, a strategic and smart approach can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll explore three key principles to help you smartly negotiate your divorce and pave the way for a more amicable and satisfactory resolution.

Focus on the Big Things, Not the Small Things

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of divorce proceedings, arguing over every detail from who gets the newly purchased air fryer to who keeps the television. However, a smart negotiator knows the importance of focusing on the big picture. Prioritize the key issues that will significantly impact your post-divorce life, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Consider the division of larger assets, child support, alimony, and child custody as primary areas of focus. By concentrating on these critical aspects, you’ll streamline the negotiation process and avoid unnecessary emotional turmoil over trivial matters. Remember that keeping your eye on the big picture is key, and being willing to let go of smaller items can lead to a more expedient and less emotionally taxing divorce.

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LGBTQ+ Friendly Family Law Firm in Florida

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida, you might have found yourself wondering about the best path forward when it comes to family law matters. We get it—navigating the legal landscape can be confusing and overwhelming, and now is not the time for a lawyer to judge you or your family. But fear not! At Family Diplomacy, we’ve got your back. Our mission is to provide you with an open, friendly, and supportive environment as we work together to tailor LGBTQ+ Family Law solutions that perfectly suit your unique needs.  And we help families throughout the State of Florida.

Crafting Harmony through Collaborative Family Law

Picture this: you’ve got personal family matters to resolve, but you’re dreading the thought of entering a public adversarial court system. Guess what? You don’t have to go that route. Family Diplomacy recommends a much more peaceful alternative for Florida and Tampa Bay LGBTQ+ spouses and partners: Collaborative Family Law.

Here’s the scoop: in this process, attorneys are on board solely to help you reach private resolutions. We’re actually barred from fighting before a judge. Plus, there’s a facilitator—usually a trained mental health professional—who’s there to keep everyone focused on what’s best for the family, including any children involved. This person ensures that communication remains respectful and productive. And since financial matters can be complex, especially for LGBTQ+ relationships, a financial professional might step in to guide you through the intricacies of assets and debts.

Meet the Collaborative Guru: Adam B. Cordover

Let us introduce you to an intellectual leader in collaborative practice—Adam B. Cordover. He’s not just any lawyer; he’s an internationally-recognized leader and trainer in collaborative practice. He’s even presented on the use of collaborative practice for LGBTQ+ family law matters to professional and civic groups around the U.S., Canada, France, and Israel, and across Florida including in Tampa, Sarasota, and Orlando, Jacksonville, Boca Raton, and beyond. Adam is also co-author of an American Bar Association book on collaborative family law, a member of the Board of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and recipient of the inaugural Visionary Award from the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You’re in good hands!

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Short Video: Can A Divorce Be Collaborative?

We at Family Diplomacy are a Collaborative Law Firm serving clients virtually throughout Florida and with offices in Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Sarasota.  We get asked all of the time whether a divorce can even be Collaborative.  This short video (about 3 minutes in length) attempts to answer that question.

You can find a transcript of the video below:

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Virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Training September 2023

What would it feel like to help clients divorce peacefully, privately, and with dignity? Wouldn’t it be great to consistently work with professionals whom you know, trust, like, and respect? Learn how to offer Collaborative services and get involved in your Collaborative Law community in this highly engaging virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law training.

This course is intended for attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and others who believe there is a better way to help clients through difficult times.  It will focus mainly on the One Coach/Neutral Facilitator/Neutral Mental Health Professional model of Collaborative Practice.  As this training is not jurisdiction-specific, professionals around the world are welcome!

This training meets the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals’ Minimum Standards for Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Trainings and interim protocols permitting virtual trainings.

 

Where

This is a virtual training that will take place 100% on Zoom.

When

September 6, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 13, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 20, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 27, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*

*Please note all times are listed for Eastern time zone

Florida CLE credits available (and may be transferable to your jurisdiction).

Location:

This will be a virtual training and take place 100% on Zoom.

Florida Alimony Reform 2023

Florida Alimony Reform 2023: What is is and what does it mean?

INTRODUCTION ON FLORIDA ALIMONY REFORM 2023

Florida alimony reform is here.  Our legislature passed, and the governor signed, a transformative overhaul to §61.08, Florida Statutes, commonly referred to as the Alimony Statute.  As of July 1, 2023, Florida has virtually eliminated new awards of permanent alimony, codified temporary alimony, and implemented limits to the length and amount of alimony a court could order.  The Alimony Statute now only refers to the following types of alimony (also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance): Temporary, Bridge-the-Gap, Rehabilitative, and Durational, each of which can be paid over time or in a lump sum. In this blog post, we explore each and highlight some of the recent significant changes.

Keep in mind that, though this is now the default law and limits what courts can order, spouses can always agree to do things differently through a private process such as Collaborative Divorce or mediation.

NEED AND ABILITY TO PAY

Before alimony can be awarded, a court must first determine whether one spouse has an actual financial need, and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay and meet that need. The burden is on the party requesting alimony to show both their need and the other party’s ability to pay.  Though determining need and ability to pay may seem straight forward, the issue becomes a lot murkier when one of the spouses has inconsistent income because they are a small business owner, executive with a unique compensation package, or a seasonal worker.

Additionally, though seemingly obvious, many people seeking alimony do not realize that the household income that once supported one home may now have to stretch and support two, and there may or may not be sufficient funds to cover both. It is with this in mind that the new statute considers an additional factor in analyzing need and ability to pay: the anticipated financial needs and necessities of life for each party after the divorce is over.

LENGTH OF MARRIAGE

There are many factors a court may take into consideration when determining an alimony award. However, one of the major changes is how the court measures the length of the marriage. Now, the Alimony Statute defines a short-term marriage as one that last less than 10 years, a moderate length marriage as 10 to 20 years, and a long-term marriage as exceeding 20 years. Traditionally, the length of marriage is measured from the date of marriage until the date of filing for divorce or another date as agreed upon by the spouses.  In a Collaborative Process, where many cases do not get filed until after a full resolution is reached, we tend to use a date listed in a Collaborative Participation Agreement in place of the date of filing.

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Tampa Family Lawyer Review

Tampa Family Law Review: “I Could Not Have Been Happier”

We are dedicated to helping our clients face challenging family law matters without fighting in court, and we are so fortunate when clients share their experience.  In the review below, a former client discusses how Family Diplomacy lawyer Britney Penaherrera helped in her situation:

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Title Photo: A Humane Divorce

A Humane Divorce Option: Collaborative Family Law

Introduction

Divorce and family law matters are notorious for their adversarial nature, fostering an environment of conflict and animosity. However, there is a more humane alternative known as Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Divorce. In this blog post, we will explore three points that make Collaborative Divorce a preferable option for many families in Florida.

A Private Alternative to Public Courtroom Battles

One of the key advantages of Collaborative Divorce is the private and confidential nature of the process. Unlike traditional litigation, where personal matters are dissected in open court, Collaborative Divorce takes place in a private Zoom room or the private conference rooms of attorneys or other team members. This setting allows for open, honest, and transparent communication between the parties involved. By keeping discussions privileged and confidential, families can protect their privacy and avoid having intimate, personal details entered into the public record.

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Reality Check: Collaborative Divorce is Still Divorce

I am a huge proponent of the Collaborative Divorce process.  It offers more privacy, more support, and less fighting than a traditional court-based divorce.  But I think there is a misperception of the process because it has the term “Collaborative” in it.  Collaborative does not mean easy.  It is still divorce, and divorce is tough.  This post explains Collaborative Divorce, provides a reality check on challenges, and also explains why everyone facing a family law issue should still look into it.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce (also known as Collaborative Family Law, Collaborative Practice, and the Collaborative Process) starts with a simple premise:  your private family disputes should not be resolved in a public courthouse.  But, still, you and your spouse should have access to separate, independent legal advice to help you make decisions in one of the toughest moments of your life that will affect the rest of your life.

So both you and your spouse have separate lawyers in a Collaborative Process.  But unlike traditional attorneys, we Collaborative Lawyers focus solely on helping you reach an out-of-court agreement.  This means that no time, energy, or money will be focused on gearing up for a court battle.  The Collaborative Lawyers’ interests are aligned with your interests:  If we help you reach an agreement, we succeed; if the lawyers cause unnecessary fighting and you are unable to reach an agreement, we get fired (this is known as the “Disqualification Clause“).

Fortunately, the vast majority of Collaborative Divorce matters come to a full resolution.  In my experience, 90%+ of Collaborative matters have concluded with a full agreement in place.  So though we can never guarantee that you and your spouse will reach an agreement, chances are that you will.

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