I recently was at the St. Petersburg studios of Money Talk 1010 AM with fellow attorney Joryn Jenkins to discuss, among other things, how a collaborative divorce tends to make more financial sense then going through the traditional courthouse divorce. The discussion was facilitated by Let’s Talk Law’s Roxanne Wilder and sponsored by Next Generation Divorce.
The radio program begins around the 5:30 mark after the jump below.
Collaborative divorce is a process where both spouses each have separate attorneys who focus solely on reaching an out-of-court agreement. Attorneys in the collaborative process do not waste any time, money, or resources preparing for trial. If an attorney or party wants a documents or information, he or she simply asks and the other party provides; there is no costly discovery process, deposition preparation, or motion practice.
A neutral facilitator, who generally has a counseling background, is oftentimes retained to cut through the clutter of emotionally charged issues and help the parties focus on what is most important to them. Further, the facilitator helps the spouses pivot from the arguments of the past to a more productive discussion on the future.
Additionally, collaborative cases in Tampa Bay usually have a neutral financial professional. No matter which way spouses go through divorce, Florida law requires the disclosure of a great deal of financial information and documents. In the traditional divorce process, attorneys separately bill their hourly rates to gather, organize, and review their client’s financial disclosure and review and scrutinize the opposing party’s information. In the collaborative process, the financial professional works with both spouses, usually at a lower rate than the attorneys, to fill out the required financial affidavit and ensure the required disclosure. Since much of the financial information, such as monthly expenses or a list of assets and debts, tends to be the same, the financial professional can save a lot of time by being in direct contact with both spouses.
A collaborative divorce is not cheap. Any divorce where there are children’s issues or support issues or property or debts to be divided is going to be expensive. However, it is a reasonable alternative to the traditional divorce court battles and has the potential to save spouses a great deal of money.
If you would like to learn more about how the collaborative divorce process can help your Tampa Bay family, schedule a consultation with Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover is a collaborative attorney and mediator who now practices exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution. He is also president of Next Generation Divorce, one of the nation’s largest collaborative practice groups covering Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. He is also co-chair of the Research Committee of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals and a member of the Research Committee of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.