You may be stuck in your house, but, with Online Collaborative Divorce, that does not mean that you have to be stuck in your marriage.
Online Collaborative Divorce brings together the best parts of consensual dispute resolution with technology that makes the process more convenient than ever. And we can help you if at least one spouse (whether you or your partner) has lived in any part of Florida for the last 6 months.
The Basics of Collaborative Divorce
In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed the Collaborative Law Process Act. In the Collaborative Law Process Act, the Legislature declared that “It is the policy of this state to encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes and the early resolution of pending litigation through a voluntary settlement process. The collaborative law process is a unique nonadversarial process that preserves a working relationship between the parties and reduces the emotional and financial toll of litigation.” Section 61.55, Florida Statutes.
The process is simple enough. Each spouse has his/her own separate lawyer for independent counsel. Collaborative Lawyers are there solely for the purpose of reaching an agreement and cannot be used to fight in court. This means that no time, no money, and no energy is spent on opposition research or preparing for nasty court battles. Collaborative lawyers just want to help you move on with your life as peacefully and protected as possible. If, for whatever reason, either of you decide that you no longer want to use Online Collaborative Divorce, Collaborative Lawyers step down and you can choose trial counsel. Fortunately, in my experience, that is pretty rare, as only 6% of my Collaborative Divorce cases have ended without an agreement.
Depending on the needs of your family, other professionals may be involved. You might use a Neutral Collaborative Facilitator, who has a specialty in communication, family dynamics, and/or childhood development. A Collaborative Facilitator is especially useful when you are trying to develop a parenting plan that meets the unique needs of your children. A Collaborative Facilitator is also helpful when you and your spouse have problems communicating. Moreover, during this time where many are worried about the coronavirus, a Collaborative Facilitator can help you or your spouse process the added stress and move the Online Collaborative Divorce process forward.
You can also choose to use a Neutral Financial Professional, who can help you both understand your families finances and budgetary constraints. The Neutral Financial Professional can also help develop options for the division of assets and debts, child support, and spousal support.
How Online Collaborative Divorce Works
In traditional Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse resolve issues through a series of in-person meetings. These include separate meetings with your lawyers, meetings with any other professional retained, and full team meetings with you, your spouse, both lawyers, and any other professional needed. In this structured process, you will go through the 4 D’s of Resolution:
- Decide to enter into the process
- Disclose all relevant financial and other information
- Develop options as potential solutions for your family
- Determine the best outcomes for you and your family
In Online Collaborative Divorce, we hold meetings virtually, rather than in person. Generally, we use videoconferencing software so that you, your spouse, and the rest of the team can meet together. All you need to participate is a webcam or smartphone. If, at any time during full team meetings, you need to speak privately with your attorney, a separate breakout room can be created. And if we need to, we can use teleconferences rather than videoconferences.
Once you and your spouse have reached an agreement, the agreement may be notarized online. We can then file a case in a Florida county that waves any requirement for you or your spouse to physically appear at court.
Who Is Eligible For Online Collaborative Divorce
If either you or your spouse has lived in Florida for the last six months, then you are eligible for Collaborative Divorce. Because all meetings will happen over the phone or online, it does not matter where in Florida you (or your spouse) lives. We can help.
The first step is to fill out our contact form or give us a call at (813) 443-0615.
Adam B. Cordover is co-author of an American Bar Association book on Collaborative Divorce. He is also a member of the Board of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and co-chair of the Leadership Institute of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam has taught attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals how to offer Collaborative services. He has held trainings and workshops throughout the U.S., Canada, Israel, and France.