Family Law

The traditional divorce model pits husband versus wife, mother versus father. Collaborative Law is a refreshing team-oriented alternative. Each client retains a separate attorney whose job is to counsel the client and help resolve disputes. The attorneys work together to help both clients meet their needs. Open communication is advanced by a trained facilitator, while support and property options are developed by a neutral financial professional. The clients, attorneys, and other team members agree beforehand that the matter will not be brought into the court system until a full agreement is reached.

CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO FAMILY MATTERS

The Collaborative Process allows for flexible, creative solutions to a family law matter. The team explores options that look beyond a legal framework by incorporating the skills and expertise of the facilitator and financial professional. Clients are encouraged to focus on the best interests of their family, rather than rigid negotiation positions, to reach their goals. In the unlikely event that a settlement is not reached, the Collaborative attorneys withdraw and litigation lawyers may be retained. The knowledge that the Collaborative attorneys cannot bring the case in front of a judge further permits the parties to speak openly about potential settlement options (and frees attorneys from conducting exhaustive, costly opposition research).

Client Review: Adult Adoption in Florida

Floridians know about child adoption, but many do not realize that adults may be adopted as well.  Whether you have an adult step child, adult foster child, adult relative, or other person, Florida courts generally will grant adult adoptions so long the adoptee is younger than the prospective adoptive parent.  Florida courts have even granted adult adoptions that were explicitly for tax planning and estate planning purposes.

A former client of mine whom I recently helped in an adult adoption wrote a review of her experience on Avvo.com.  FLORIDA BAR DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different, and you may not receive the same or similar results.

You can see the review after the jump:

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Client Testimonial: Collaborative Divorce

Family Diplomacy recently received a client testimonial on a case in which the parties used the collaborative divorce process.  FLORIDA BAR DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different, and you may not receive the same or similar results.

You can find the client testimonial, originally entered on Avvo.com, below the jump.

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Cordover Published in Lawyer Magazine on Simplified Collaborative Divorce Protocols

The Lawyer Magazine has published an article co-authored by collaborative attorneys Adam B. Cordover and Jeremy Gluckman on “A Simplifed Protocol for Collaborative Dissolution.”  The article is on page 22 of the Summer 2015 edition of the Lawyer Magazine, which is published and distributed by the Hillsborough County Bar Association.

The article is reproduced below:

One objection that most professionals have heard regarding the collaborative process is that it is too expensive and complicated. Though there are many arguments against this objection, in some cases it is valid. If there are relatively few assets and debts and clients are in general agreement regarding their children, a simplified process may be in order.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to simplify the use of a full team in a collaborative dissolution. This process has been successfully tested in Tampa. It requires more preparation from the professionals and clients than other versions of the full team model; however, it can promote two important goals: (i) speed up the process and (ii) reduce costs to the clients.

Below are simplified protocols for our full team model:

(1) A party meets with a collaboratively trained lawyer where the pros and cons of all processes, including litigation, mediation, and collaborative divorce, are explained.

(2) The attorney provides the party with names of at least three other collaboratively trained lawyers (and perhaps access to membership lists of local collaborative practice groups), who then provides those names to his/her spouse along with materials about the collaborative process. Read more

Tampa Divorce Lawyer Rejects Court System

The court system publicly pits husband versus wife, mother versus father.  Collaborative lawyer Adam B. Cordover declares that he will no longer take part.

Tampa, Florida, August 7, 2015:  When a person steps into a courthouse to file for divorce, he or she is entering an adversarial system pitting spouse versus spouse.  Tampa attorney Adam B. Cordover has seen families publicly tear themselves apart in the court system, and he has decided to do something about it.  Cordover will now practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services.

And on July 31, 2015, the fifth anniversary of the establishment of The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., Cordover has changed his firm’s name to reflect this new focus.  His firm is now “Family Diplomacy:  A Collaborative Law Firm.”

“We have wonderful and caring judges, but they are limited in a system that turns parents into ‘opposing parties’ and attorneys into opposition research experts,” says Cordover, who will no longer appear in contested court hearings.  “There are better, private methods, such as collaborative divorce, to help families resolve their differences and still maintain a relationship and their dignity once the divorce is finalized.”

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Cordover Pens Letter on Children of Same Sex Marriage to Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough collaborative family law attorney Adam B. Cordover recently had a Letter to the Editor published in the Tampa Bay Times.  The letter addressed the unequal legal status of children of same-sex marriages.  You can find the text below:

Marriages still not equal
 
With the recent Supreme Court decision declaring that same-sex couples have as much right to marry as opposite-sex couples, we may be on the precipice of a renaissance of civil rights and equality not experienced since the 1960s. And just as we no longer classify marriages as being either interracial or segregated, we may soon be in an age when we do not classify marriages as either same-sex or opposite-sex.
 
But in this state, we are not quite there. And this has profound consequences for Florida’s children.
 
There is a strong presumption in Florida family law that a child born during an intact marriage to a husband and wife is presumed to be a child of the marriage, regardless of whether both parties are actually the biological parents. In fact, according to a long line of cases, this presumption of a child’s legitimacy is one of the strongest presumptions known to law and is based on protecting the sanctity of the family and the welfare of the child.
 
The presumption means that both opposite-sex parents will be placed on the child’s birth certificate, and both will be considered the child’s guardians. Both parents will be able to make decisions concerning the child’s education, health care and general welfare, and the child would have the right to inherit from both parents in the event either dies without a will.

We Now Offer Divorce Mediation

The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover is proud to offer divorce and family law mediation for families throughout the greater Tampa Bay Area.  Attorney Adam B. Cordover has successfully completed a 40-hour mediation program sponsored by the Conflict Resolution Collaborative center of the University of South Florida.

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Keiba Shaw Media Statement on Tampa Same Sex Divorce Appeal

On May 29, 2015, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal released its opinion in the matter of Shaw v. Shaw.  It determined that Florida should give full faith and credit to a same-sex marriage entered into under the laws of Massachusetts, and that Florida courts have the authority to dissolve the marriage.

This has been a long, tough road, but this is truly a great day for equality.

Keiba Shaw has authorized the release of the following statement:

An uncontested divorce between a man and a woman in Florida can be resolved in as little as a month. That’s just four weeks to dissolve a negative situation that both parties agree needs to end. It doesn’t matter how long they were married or WHERE they were married.

My [soon-to-be] former spouse and I used a next generation process, collaborative divorce, that was designed to resolve conflicts in a manner that was private, non-litigated, peaceful, and respectful. We reached a full agreement on all issues in two meetings that were one week apart.

And yet, because my former spouse and I are both women, my divorce has taken more than a year to be granted and has unnecessarily disrupted my life and that of my family members. The legal complexities have limited my options and the resulting financial burden has made it harder to take care of my family the way I envisioned.

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Tampa Bay Times Article on 2015 Florida Collaborative Divorce Bill

The Tampa Bay Times recently published an article on collaborative divorce.  The article quotes four local collaborative professionals (attorneys Ingrid Hooglander, Tanya O’Conner, and Mark Moon, and psychologist Rachel Moskowitz), all of whom are members of Next Generation Divorce, an interdisciplinary group of professionals dedicated to educating the public about a healthier way to resolve their family disputes.

The article also interviews State Senator Tom Lee of Brandon, who is the sponsor of Senate Bill 642, the Collaborative Law Practice Act.  Though collaborative law is already being practiced as a private way to resolve divorces and other family law issues in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida, the bill provides a legal framework for the process and adds protections to the privacy of communications during settlement talks.

Below is an excerpt:

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Can I Now Divorce My Same-Sex Spouse in Florida?

Last week, Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle clarified his ruling in Brenner v. Scott to state, definitively, that the U.S. Constitution requires Florida clerks of court to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  This has brought great jubilation that marriage equality is finally recognized in Florida.  Clerks throughout the state (including in my own Hillsborough County) have begun issuing marriage licenses, and some even have officiated over marriages.

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank Officiates Over a Mass Same-Sex Wedding

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank Officiates Over a Mass Same-Sex Wedding

However, is same-sex marriage yet completely equal in Florida?  Is it recognized for all purposes in Florida, including for purposes of dissolving that marriage?

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Tampa Same Sex Divorce Appeal: Text of Answer Brief

We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe – some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others – some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.

But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president.  That institution … is a court.  It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest [lower] court in the land. . . . Our courts have their faults, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, pg. 274 (1960).  Mockingbird is a timeless novel set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s.  Discrimination was the norm and “separate but equal” ruled the day.  Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).  The words are from a different time, yet they apply directly to the laws being challenged in this Court.

You can find the answer brief in the Tampa same sex divorce appeal at the following link: 2D14-2384 Shaw Appellee’s Answer Brief.

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