COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW IN FLORIDA. No matter how you look at it, divorce and family law matters are difficult to go through. Expectations of stability are shattered,

mistrust grows, and bills pile up. And then the litigation begins. Attorneys file and serve petitions, counterpetitions, requests to produce, and motions to compel. Each party hires dueling mental health experts to convince a judge that he or she should have more time with the children. Privacy is eliminated as each party’s life is probed and publicly questioned so that one side may gain a tactical advantage.

But there is a different way. A more civilized way. And it is called Collaborative Family Law (also known as Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Practice).

We are a Collaborative law firm dedicated to helping people resolve personal disputes without destroying their families. We encourage the use of the Collaborative Family Law model in divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, post-judgment, prenuptial, and most other family law cases.  Further, Adam B. Cordover is an internationally-recognized leader in Collaborative Practice, a trainer who teaches other professionals how to help families Collaboratively, and author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on Collaborative Law.

Article: Collaborative Lawyer Discusses Holiday Custody Schedule

The Patch of West Hartford, Connecticut, recently ran an article where Susan Busby, a Collaborative Family Law attorney, discusses the difficult topic of custody during the holidays.  The article, titled “Collaborative Divorce: A Route to Happier Holidays,” urges families to learn about the Collaborative Process as way to keep children out of disputes between parents.  You can read an excerpt of the article below:

The holiday season is often stressful, and for those going through or having just gone through a divorce or separation, the season can induce even more stress, intensify negative emotions, and accentuate how much their lives have changed. But it is entirely possible to have a joyous and peaceful holiday season, even during a big change in family structure.

By choosing a collaborative divorce, separating parents can create the holiday plan together to determine best options for everyone, focus on the well-being of the children, develop new cheerful traditions, and lay the foundations for having a good working relationship post-divorce.

Connecticut Collabortative Divorce Group“By coming to an agreement collaboratively, both parents have input into the holiday schedule instead of having a judge telling parents what the holidays will look like,” said Susan Busby, an attorney with the Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group (CCDG). CCDG is a Hartford-based group of professionals that aims to keep divorcing couples and their children out of court using a method of family conflict resolution called Collaborative Divorce. “In a Collaborative Divorce, the values and traditions of the parents and the children can be honored and not used as leverage between the parents to get something else, which can happen in traditionally litigated divorces. Working out the holiday plan together is better for the children and for parents. Then everyone can relax and enjoy the holidays.”

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Video: The Secret – Miracles of Collaborative Divorce

When folks are going through divorce, oftentimes they reveal things that are embarrassing and which they kept secret from their spouse.  The collaborative divorce process offers a supportive environment in which to do this.

In the video below, Joryn Jenkins, Esq., of Open Palm Law describes one such incident that happened in a collaborative matter.

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IACP Minimum Standards for Collaborative Practice Trainers

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”) has set Minimum Standards for those who hold themselves out as Collaborative Practice Trainers.  Trainers teach other professionals how to offer the public Collaborative Law services.

IACP Minimum Standards for Collaborative Practice Trainers

The Minimum Standards for Collaborative Practice Trainers were approved by the Board in October 2014 and amended February, 2015. In 2017, the Board removed the designation of these standards as “interim.”

IACP Collaborative Law PracticeThese standards are established with an awareness of the aggregate nature of learning. Skill is acquired from the successive application of education to experience over time and continuing education to enhance skill. The IACP sets the following
minimum standards for trainers after January 1, 2015, to conduct a training that meets IACP Minimum Standards for an Introductory Training:

1. Minimum Experience for Trainers:

1.1 A trainer will have completed at least 10 different Collaborative Practice matters of which at least 6 will have been in the interdisciplinary model, accumulating at least 50 hours of practice in Collaborative Practice. For trainings that are focused solely on practice areas other than domestic relations, trainers will have completed at least 8 different Collaborative Practice matters, accumulating at least 50 hours of practice in the Collaborative Practice.

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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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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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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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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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IACP Video: Why Choose Collaborative Practice?

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) is the premier organization urging families to resolve divorce and other family law matters in a better way.  Collaborative Divorce, also known as Collaborative Practice, Collaborative Law, and the Collaborative Process, is a structured method of private dispute resolution that keeps families out of court.

The short video below, produced by the IACP, explains why families facing divorce should consider Collaborative Practice.

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