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Cordover Teaches Collaborative Law Course in France

Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover just returned from Aix-en-Provence, France, after teaching a Collaborative Law course.  Cordover taught the course alongside Tampa psychologist Jeremy S. Gaies.  Cordover and Gaies are both lead trainers with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.

The course was hosted by the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Médiation et Négociation (“IHEMN”) as two-days within a broader 200-hour class.  Those who wish to become mediators in France must take this (or a similar) 200-hour class.  Twenty-six people attended the course, and among them were lawyers, entrepreneurs, police officers, and retired judges.

Curriculum of Collaborative Law Course

The title of the two-day course was “Collaborative Practice in the USA: An Intercultural Advanced Training.”  It included the following modules:

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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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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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Collaborative Lawyer Review

We at Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm, are grateful for the opportunity to help our clients through difficult times.   One such client, from a collaborative family law matter, was kind enough to leave a review on Avvo.com.

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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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Explanation of Collaborative Process

Explanation of Collaborative Process Consent Form

When you come into my office to learn about collaborative divorce, I want to make sure that you understand the process.  Yes, collaborative divorce helps families day in and day out, but there are potential negatives that you need to know, as well.  Further, Rule 4-1.19 of the Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct requires me to help ensure you have informed consent before entering the collaborative process.

Accordingly, I will sit down with you to discuss all aspects of collaborative practice.  At the end, I will provide you with an Explanation of Collaborative Process Consent Form to sign.  I have designed this form, but it is based on one created by Robert J. Merlin, an attorney in South Florida who was the point person for the adoption of Rule 4-1.19 by the Florida Supreme Court.

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Sample Collaborative Divorce Participation Agreement

If you are considering or going through divorce, there are two terms you should become familiar with:  collaborative divorce and collaborative divorce participation agreement.

Collaborative divorce is a form of private dispute resolution where you, your spouse, and your attorneys agree from the beginning that they will not fight in court.  You agree that you do not want to subject yourselves, your children, your business, and your friends and family to an adversarial, hostile, and public court system.  You just want to move on to your better future in the least painful way possible.

Though there are statutes and rules that interact with the collaborative divorce process, it is mainly governed by a contract, known as a collaborative divorce participation agreement.  This is an agreement that you and your spouse sign.  Because the collaborative divorce process is very different than the traditional divorce process, it is important that you have a complete understanding of your collaborative divorce participation agreement and walk through the agreement thoroughly with your attorney.

Below is a sample collaborative divorce participation agreement that I often use in my cases here in Tampa Bay.  Keep in mind that there are a lot of variations of this agreement, and different communities use different participation agreements.  In fact, I use different participation agreements depending on the circumstances of the family and what type of resolution they are trying to reach (i.e., divorce, post-divorce, prenuptial agreement, or postnuptial agreement).

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