Video: FACP is Diversity

At the 2022 conference of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”), I had the honor of participating in the filming of a short video showcasing FACP’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

Per its website, FACP is

Florida’s statewide organization of lawyers, financial, and mental health professionals whose mission is to guide families to peaceful divorce using the Collaborative Divorce Process.

Our vision is to create a culture in which the Collaborative Process is the prevailing method for the resolution of disputes beginning with family law and evolving into all other areas of law.

You can find the video, and a transcript, about the FACP, Collaborative Divorce, and diversity below. Read more

Short Video: Collaborative Divorce

Have you heard about Collaborative Divorce?  If you are looking for an alternative to the divorce court battles that have plagued Florida’s families, this form of private dispute resolution should be on your list to research.

This short video (less than 3 minutes) lays out the basics of Collaborative Divorce, and you can also find a transcript below:

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Client Review: Name Change for Transgender Child

We feel so fortunate when our clients take the time to let others know about the services we offer.  A client recently left a review on Family Diplomacy’s St. Petersburg Google Review Page to discuss how we helped his family achieve a legal name change for his transgender child.

As I am required to state by the Florida Bar, please note that we cannot guarantee the same or similar results in your matter, but we welcome you to contact us to learn more.

Below is the text of the review:

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“Never Leave It In The Hands Of The Judges”

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post revealing that I am a huge fan of mixed martial arts and comparing the Unified Family Courts with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (“UFC”).  The main point of the post: both the Unified Family Courts and the UFC may be interesting to observe, but I would never want to be a participant in either as it would be too painful.

Interestingly, the UFC has a maxim that applies to most family law situations: “Never Leave It In The Hands Of The Judges.”  In both situations, this applies because no matter how persuasive you are, or how hard you fight, when you let judges decide your fate, you are giving up control of the outcome and your future.  Further, as wise and dedicated as judges are, they can get things wrong.

Fortunately, there are alternatives, including uncontested divorces, mediation, and Collaborative Divorce.  This post will focus on why you want to reach an out-of-court agreement rather than rely on contested court hearings.

Judges Are Not Your Friend

It is common at the end of UFC fights, when all rounds are over but before the judges have made a decision, for both fighters to raise their hands in victory.  Both fighters’ cornermen will tell them that they won.  Then the decision comes, and one fighter loses.  That fighter’s cornermen will tell them that they were robbed.  They were not.  They left it in the hands of the judges.

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ChatGPT on Collaborative Divorce

Does ChatGPT Get Collaborative Divorce Right?

We have been hearing a lot about ChatGPT over the last few months.  For those unaware, ChatGPT is a form of artificial intelligence that uses plain language to produce an answer to a prompt.  According to a ChatGPT FAQ page, “These models were trained on vast amounts of data from the internet written by humans, including conversations, so the responses it provides may sound human-like. It is important to keep in mind that this is a direct result of the system’s design (i.e. maximizing the similarity between outputs and the dataset the models were trained on) and that such outputs may be inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times.”

So, does AI get Collaborative Divorce correct?

The Prompt

The way that the program works is that, in plain language, you ask a question or make a request, and it produces a response.  For these purposes, I entered the following prompt: “Explain Collaborative Divorce in a blog post.”  The first response provided 6 paragraphs of text.  To simplify things, I refined my query, and I asked it to respond in 3 paragraphs.

Below is the result.

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2023 Tampa Pride Guide

Family Diplomacy Sponsors 2023 Tampa Pride Guide

Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm is proud to sponsor the 2023 Tampa Pride Guide.  The Guide is published by Watermark Online.  According to Carrie West, president of the event, “We welcome everyone near and far to our great city of Ybor for the 9th Annual Tampa Pride.  We share this celebration with thousands of visitors to enjoy our community’s welcoming hand and spirit through our day long LGBTQ festivities.”

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LAWYER MAGAZINE: Who Is Disqualified if a Collaborative Divorce Terminates

As a family law attorney who specializes in Collaborative Divorce and Family Law, I can confirm what research shows:  Collaborative Divorce tends to be successful.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a private, non-adversarial form of dispute resolution where you and your spouse retain separate, specially trained lawyers who focus solely on helping you reach agreements that work for your family.  Oftentimes, you will have the help of a Neutral Collaborative Facilitator who specializes in family dynamics, childhood development, and communication to help keep the process moving forward.  You will also usually retain a Neutral Financial Professional who brings efficiency to the process and can help give both of you the information and tools you need to feel comfortable with whatever agreement you reach.

If a Collaborative Divorce does not result in an agreement, or you or your spouse wish to discontinue the process, then it Terminates.  This means that both attorneys and all professionals must withdraw from your matter (in other words, they are “Disqualified”), and you can move on with successor litigation lawyers, if you wish.

As I mentioned earlier, Collaborative Divorce tends to be successful, and it is relatively rare for the process to Terminate.  A study by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”) found that 86% of cases ended in a full agreement, with an additional 2% ending in reconciliation between the spouses.  Research by the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals has found similar results.  In my personal practice, 90+% of my Collaborative matters have ended in a full agreement between the spouses.  Of course, we cannot guarantee that your Collaborative Divorce will be successful; however, chances are that it will be.

Who Is Disqualified if a Collaborative Divorce Terminates

 

There has been some questions in our local community as to who is Disqualified if a Collaborative Divorce Terminates.  I recently wrote an article for The LAWYER Magazine, a publication of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, on the topic.  You can find an excerpt below:

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Can I Still Get An Online Collaborative Divorce?

Here in Florida, the court systems have largely reopened, and even though we are facing a surge in the Delta variant of the Coronavirus, things in many ways feel like we have gotten back to normal.  And yet, many people are still not comfortable having their most private details revealed in public divorce court battles or even meeting in person to resolve disputes outside of court.  So is Online Collaborative Divorce still an option?

Fortunately, the answer is yes, you can still resolve divorce and other family law matters amicably and without leaving your home.

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Introductory Collaborative Training

Virtual Introductory Collaborative Law Training August 2021

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.

Register here:  https://mycollaborativeteam.com/webinars/ 

Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law Training

This course is intended for lawyers, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and others who believe there is a better way to help clients through difficult times.  The course will mainly focus on the One Coach/Neutral Facilitator Model of Collaborative Practice.  This training is not jurisdiction specific, and professionals from all locales are welcome to attend.

Training Dates:  August 24, August 26, August 31, and September 2

Training Times:  1:00pm – 5:00 pm Eastern Time/10:00am – 2:00pm Pacific Time each day

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Collaborative Divorce: An Unbundled Legal Service

Traditionally, divorce has been an adversarial process, with lawyers making arguments in front of a judge about what his or her client should get.  And yet, you are probably not looking to get in a prolonged battle with your spouse; rather, you are likely looking to move on with your life and ensure your kids do not get caught in the middle.  This is why I specialize in Collaborative Divorce, which unbundles divorce negotiations from the adversarial court process.  In effect, I am a resolution specialist.

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