Video: Cordover & Direnfeld on Clergy in Divorce

I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Gary Direnfeld of Ontario, Canada.  Gary Direnfeld is an internationally renowned social worker and family advocate. He is a trainer, a friend, and a contributing author to the American Bar Association book I co-edited and co-authored with Forrest S. Mosten, Building A Successful Collaborative Family Law Practice (2018).  You can find the video below.

 

 

Below you will find a transcript of the interview, lightly edited for clarity.

Gary Direnfeld (“Gary”): Okay, Gary Direnfeld here, and I’m with a dear colleague, Adam Cordover, from Tampa Florida.

Adam Cordover (“Adam”): Gary, great to see you!
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Video: Adult Adoption

Below is a brief video from the Audiopedia that gives a general description of Adult Adoption.

 

You can find a transcript below:

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Should A Rabbi Help You With Your Divorce?

If you can avoid divorce, you should.  Divorce is tough, even under the best of circumstances.  Turn to your therapist, your priest, your preacher, your imam, and/or your rabbi to seek help and repair your marriage.  But if your marriage is truly irretrievably broken, perhaps your rabbi (or priest, or preacher, or imam) can help you through the marriage dissolution.  And the Collaborative Process may be the best forum to help make this happen.

What is the Collaborative Process?

The Collaborative Process is a form of alternative dispute resolution.  In the Collaborative Process, you and your spouses each have separate attorneys.  The attorneys are there solely for the purpose of helping you reach an out-of-court agreement.  This mean that you do not spend any time, energy, or money in courtroom battles or in adversarial proceedings.  Collaborative attorneys simply want to help you move forward in your lives as efficiently and amicably as possible without harming your kids.

Additionally, the Collaborative Process is holistic in nature.  We oftentimes use outside experts to help deal with aspects of your lives that traditional court-based divorces do not.

Ok, So Where Does The Rabbi Come In?

Your family has your own set of traditions and values.  Is faith and religious practice is one of the cornerstones of your family? Then it may be helpful to have clergy involved as part of your divorce process.

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Filling Out Florida Divorce Forms

If you have ever tried filling out Florida divorce forms on your own, you know how difficult it can be.  Just the titles are confusing:  Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Financial Affidavit, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit.

And yet, you may not be able to afford a full-service lawyer to help you out.  Fortunately, you do have an option.

Unbundled Legal Services

Most people going through divorce do not know about the option of unbundled legal services.  This is an option where you can retain an attorney on an a la cart basis to help you with discreet tasks.  For example, you may need help answering a petition, ghost-writing a letter, or figuring out how child support guidelines work.  Lawyers who provide unbundled legal services will oftentimes require a much-reduced upfront retainer and may hold a credit card number on file to charge on a pay-as-you-go basis.

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Video: How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

Collaborative divorce seems great in theory, but many people don’t quite understand how it works.  This great video from the Crouch Group and Rhett Creative provides a fantastic explanation of how Collaborative Divorce works.


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What is Marital Mediation?

Mediation has been around for a while to help people privately resolve disputes.  Generally, it has been associated with helping parties resolve legal issues, such as divorce, paternity, or even contracts or business disputes.  But mediation can also be used to resolve every day disputes.  In fact, the purpose of marital mediation is to help strengthen marriages.

Marital mediation is a concept promoted by New York psychologist Ken Neumann and Boston family attorney John Fiske.  In marital mediation here in Tampa Bay, you sit down with neutral co-mediators.  One is trained as an attorney, and the other who is trained as a therapist.  However, they will not be providing therapy or giving legal advice.  Rather, the co-mediators help you identify the issues that are causing problems in your marriage and help you reach agreements.

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Typical Steps in a Collaborative Divorce

Divorce is tough.  Your marriage is falling apart and the foundation upon which you thought you could depend is no longer there.  Rather than fling yourself into the chaotic and adversarial divorce court system, you have alternatives.  One structured alternative is Collaborative Divorce.

In Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse retain separate attorneys to guide you along the way.  Unlike litigation lawyers, these attorneys’ only purpose is to help you reach an agreement as amicably and efficiently as possible.  In fact, the process prohibits Collaborative Attorneys from engaging in contested court proceedings.  Because of this, you do not have to worry about motion practice, depositions, or dirty trial tactics.  You can just focus on reaching a resolution that is best for your future.

Here in Tampa Bay, a neutral Collaborative Facilitator usually aids you.  The Facilitator has a specialty in communications, family dynamics, and childhood development.  When you and your spouse seem to get stuck in the arguments of the past, the Facilitator will help get things back on track and focused on the future.  Further, if you have children, the Facilitator will help you craft a parenting plan tailored to your children’s specific needs.

To ensure transparency, you may retain a neutral Financial Professional.  The Financial Professional helps you and/or your spouse understand the extent of your estate.  He or she will then help you develop options for best dividing it.  He or she can also help you develop budgets so you know that you will have a financially sustainable future after divorce.

Every Collaborative Divorce is Different

Every Collaborative Divorce is different.  However, as a trainer, many of my students (who are lawyers, financial professionals, mental health professionals, mediators, and others) find it helpful to have a step-by-step guide to Collaborative Divorce.  This is meant only as a sample.  The more Collaborative Cases I am involved with, the more they deviate from this guide; in truth, just as there is no “typical” family, there is no “typical” Collaborative Divorce.

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The Trauma of Hurricanes and Divorce

If you are going through divorce, you may have noticed that you are feeling and acting differently.  You may have trouble sleeping, or your appetite might have changed.  Perhaps the things that normally bring you joy, such as hanging out with friends, now just create anxiety or anger.  Maybe you are having difficulty thinking clearly, and you are just paralyzed to make a decision.

If so, this is normal.  You are going through divorce.  You are going through a trauma.

As we are in the midst of another potential trauma, hurricane threats, perhaps now is a good time to explore how trauma affects us.

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Collaborative Family Law: The 4 D’s of Resolution

Collaborative Divorce, also know as Collaborative Family Law, Collaborative Practice, and the Collaborative Process, is a structured form of dispute resolution where you and your spouse/partner can reach agreements privately and amicably.

J. David Harper, who is a forensic accountant and Collaborative Financial Neutral in Tampa Bay, refers to the structure of Collaborative Divorce as the “Four D’s.”  Harper writes in his article, Traits and Skills of a Highly Financial Neutral, published in Mosten & Cordover, eds., Building A Successful Collaborative Family Law Practice (ABA 2018), the following:

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Transgender Family Law Tampa Bay

The question of which attorney to choose is a very personal one.  You want someone who will offer a warm, welcoming environment and who understands the unique legal and societal challenges that transgender family law matters often entail.  You want someone who has been on the forefront of LGBTQ family law rights and will be there for you.  We would be honored to represent you.

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