Tag Archive for: collaborative facilitator

Create Your Own Path with Collaborative Divorce

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either going through a divorce or know someone who is. And let’s face it, divorce isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But what if I told you that in Florida there’s a way to navigate this challenging time while still preserving your self-determination and sanity? Enter: Collaborative Divorce.

Picture this: instead of duking it out in a courtroom with lawyers battling it out, Collaborative Divorce brings everyone to the table – you, your soon-to-be ex, and a team of professionals (including separate attorneys to provide each of you with independent legal advice) dedicated to finding solutions that work for everyone involved. Sounds pretty good, right? Here’s why it’s worth considering:

Collaborative Divorce Puts You in the Driver’s Seat

One of the biggest perks of Collaborative Divorce is that it empowers you to take control of your own future. Instead of leaving decisions about your life in the hands of a judge, you and your soon-to-be ex get to work together to find solutions that meet both of your needs. From dividing assets to co-parenting agreements, you have a say in it all.

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Maintaining Privacy In Your Divorce

Just because you are going through divorce does not mean you have to give up your privacy.  Yes, in traditional divorce, proceedings are open to the public.  Sure, most Florida divorce lawyers will tell you that you have to file your divorce in the county where you last resided with your spouse, making it easier for family, neighbors, and business competitors to snoop on you.  And, historically, you have been required to file financial affidavits in a court file that anyone can access.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to all of these issues to help maintain your privacy.

Collaborative Divorce – Private Negotiations

Collaborative Divorce is a private form of dispute resolution where discussions take place in discreet conference rooms or via Zoom rather than in a public courtroom.

In the Collaborative Process, you and your spouse each have your own, separate lawyers to provide each of you with independent legal advice.  Your lawyers are prohibited from fighting in court; if court action is needed, your Collaborative Lawyers are fired.  This aligns the incentives of both lawyers and both spouses to focus on reaching an agreement rather than stir up trouble and engage in costly trial work.  And the vast majority of Collaborative Divorce matters are able to reach a full resolution; about 92% of Collaborative matters we have been involved in have been successful.

Oftentimes, you and your spouse will have additional support in your Collaborative Divorce.  A neutral Collaborative Facilitator, who specializes in communication, family dynamics, and childhood development, will help you navigate and overcome the emotional impediments to divorce.  Additionally, if you have children, the Facilitator will help craft a parenting plan tailored to your kids’ needs rather than have a cookie-cutter parenting plan based on a bunch of legal factors.

Further, you may have a Financial Neutral on your Collaborative Divorce team.  We have found that many divorce discussions get stuck because one spouse just does not understand the family finances or fears they are being taking advantage of.  The Financial Neutral, who is typically a CPA or financial advisor, works with both spouses to efficiently gather needed financial information and help even the playing field so both of you can feel that you are making informed decisions.  This helps play a big role in getting through the “fight, flight, or freeze” instincts that can overtake a person going through divorce.

Choosing Where To File Your Divorce for Privacy

Most Florida divorce lawyers will tell you that you need to file your divorce in the county where you and your spouse last resided together.  And that is because most Florida divorce lawyers focus their practice on contested trial work; if you file a contested matter in the wrong venue, and your spouse objects, then you have to go through a costly legal fight and you may then need to pay to have your matter transferred to the “correct” county.

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The 4 Phases of Collaborative Divorce

Embarking on a journey toward resolution of your divorce can be a daunting task, especially when faced with challenging family matters. Collaborative Divorce offers a unique approach that emphasizes cooperation and mutual understanding. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the four essential phases of Collaborative Divorce, also known as the 4 D’s of Resolution, to guide you through the Collaborative Process.

1. Decide to Enter the Collaborative Process

A. Understand what is required of you: The first step in any Collaborative Matter is to grasp the expectations. Familiarize yourself with the Collaborative Process, its principles, and the commitment it demands.  It is also important to understand that your attorneys and other professional team members are only there for the purpose of reaching an out-of-court agreement, and all of the professionals are disqualified from ever engaging in contested court battles.

B. Review and sign the Participation Agreement: Formalize your commitment by reviewing and signing the Collaborative Participation Agreement. This document outlines the rules and guidelines, ensuring that you and your spouse are both on the same page.  This is also the document that, once signed, formally commences the Collaborative Process.

C. Commit to the Process: Collaborative Practice works best when both spouses are committed to reaching a resolution. Make a conscious decision to fully engage in the process, recognizing that cooperation and open communication are key elements in reaching a resolution.

2. Disclose all Relevant Information

A. Decide what information is needed: Transparency is a cornerstone of Collaborative Practice. Your professional team will help you determine the financial and other disclosure that you and your spouse will need to make informed decisions later on.

B. Assign information gatherer(s): Delegating responsibilities is an integral part of Collaboration. Assign individuals to gather the necessary information, fostering a sense of shared responsibility.  Some of the information may be gathered by a Neutral Financial Professional, and other information will be gathered by the spouse that has the best access to that information.

C. Review shared information: Once gathered, you will thoroughly review the shared information. This step sets the stage for open discussions and helps in understanding the full scope of the situation.  As oftentimes one spouse knows a lot more about the family finances than the other spouse, this step helps put the spouses closer to equal footing so they are working off the same information.

D. Work through differences: Differences are inevitable, but Collaborative Divorce is about overcoming them. You will work through any disparities in the shared information.  Your professional team can help identify what additional information is needed, including what types of appraisals or valuations may be helpful to help bridge any differences in understanding.

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Virtual Introductory Collaborative Divorce Training – March 2024

In the world of family law, where emotions can be overwhelming, imagine helping families go through a divorce peacefully and with a team to support you and the family. What if you could work with professionals you know, like, trust, and respect? Learn to offer Collaborative Divorce services in this highly interactive Virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law training, designed for attorneys, mental health professionals, accountants, financial advisors, mediators, and anyone wanting to help families in a better way.  The training takes place on every Wednesday in March 2024, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Eastern Time.  It is not jurisdiction-specific, and past trainings have included participants from all around the globe.  This training will focus primarily on the One Coach (also known as Neutral Facilitator or Neutral Mental Health Professional) model of Collaborative Practice.

 

Working Together Online

This training happens online, on Zoom. You can join from home, work, or wherever you’re comfortable. It takes place on four Wednesdays in March 2024, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM Eastern Time. This flexibility makes it easy for busy professionals to attend.

Learning from Different Perspectives

The training covers Collaborative Law from legal, emotional, and financial angles. Whether you’re a lawyer, mental health professional, financial expert, or mediator, this training helps you understand how to resolve issues related to family law in a new and supportive way.

Meet the Experts

The training features experts like Adam B. Cordover, J.D., M.A., a collaborative attorney; Jeremy S. Gaies, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist; and Kristin E. DiMeo, CPA, ABV, and J. David Harper, CPA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CBA, CVA, both accountants. All members of Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers, they bring their vast and diverse experience to help you learn the different ways to help families through difficult issues.

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How to Smartly Negotiate Your Divorce

Divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences, requiring emotional resilience and practical decision-making. When navigating the complex terrain of divorce negotiations, a strategic and smart approach can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll explore three key principles to help you smartly negotiate your divorce and pave the way for a more amicable and satisfactory resolution.

Focus on the Big Things, Not the Small Things

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of divorce proceedings, arguing over every detail from who gets the newly purchased air fryer to who keeps the television. However, a smart negotiator knows the importance of focusing on the big picture. Prioritize the key issues that will significantly impact your post-divorce life, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Consider the division of larger assets, child support, alimony, and child custody as primary areas of focus. By concentrating on these critical aspects, you’ll streamline the negotiation process and avoid unnecessary emotional turmoil over trivial matters. Remember that keeping your eye on the big picture is key, and being willing to let go of smaller items can lead to a more expedient and less emotionally taxing divorce.

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Short Video: Can A Divorce Be Collaborative?

We at Family Diplomacy are a Collaborative Law Firm serving clients virtually throughout Florida and with offices in Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Sarasota.  We get asked all of the time whether a divorce can even be Collaborative.  This short video (about 3 minutes in length) attempts to answer that question.

You can find a transcript of the video below:

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Virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Training September 2023

What would it feel like to help clients divorce peacefully, privately, and with dignity? Wouldn’t it be great to consistently work with professionals whom you know, trust, like, and respect? Learn how to offer Collaborative services and get involved in your Collaborative Law community in this highly engaging virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law training.

This course is intended for attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and others who believe there is a better way to help clients through difficult times.  It will focus mainly on the One Coach/Neutral Facilitator/Neutral Mental Health Professional model of Collaborative Practice.  As this training is not jurisdiction-specific, professionals around the world are welcome!

This training meets the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals’ Minimum Standards for Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Trainings and interim protocols permitting virtual trainings.

 

Where

This is a virtual training that will take place 100% on Zoom.

When

September 6, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 13, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 20, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*
September 27, 2023 12:00 – 4:00 PM*

*Please note all times are listed for Eastern time zone

Florida CLE credits available (and may be transferable to your jurisdiction).

Location:

This will be a virtual training and take place 100% on Zoom.

Title Photo: A Humane Divorce

A Humane Divorce Option: Collaborative Family Law

Introduction

Divorce and family law matters are notorious for their adversarial nature, fostering an environment of conflict and animosity. However, there is a more humane alternative known as Collaborative Family Law or Collaborative Divorce. In this blog post, we will explore three points that make Collaborative Divorce a preferable option for many families in Florida.

A Private Alternative to Public Courtroom Battles

One of the key advantages of Collaborative Divorce is the private and confidential nature of the process. Unlike traditional litigation, where personal matters are dissected in open court, Collaborative Divorce takes place in a private Zoom room or the private conference rooms of attorneys or other team members. This setting allows for open, honest, and transparent communication between the parties involved. By keeping discussions privileged and confidential, families can protect their privacy and avoid having intimate, personal details entered into the public record.

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Reality Check: Collaborative Divorce is Still Divorce

I am a huge proponent of the Collaborative Divorce process.  It offers more privacy, more support, and less fighting than a traditional court-based divorce.  But I think there is a misperception of the process because it has the term “Collaborative” in it.  Collaborative does not mean easy.  It is still divorce, and divorce is tough.  This post explains Collaborative Divorce, provides a reality check on challenges, and also explains why everyone facing a family law issue should still look into it.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce (also known as Collaborative Family Law, Collaborative Practice, and the Collaborative Process) starts with a simple premise:  your private family disputes should not be resolved in a public courthouse.  But, still, you and your spouse should have access to separate, independent legal advice to help you make decisions in one of the toughest moments of your life that will affect the rest of your life.

So both you and your spouse have separate lawyers in a Collaborative Process.  But unlike traditional attorneys, we Collaborative Lawyers focus solely on helping you reach an out-of-court agreement.  This means that no time, energy, or money will be focused on gearing up for a court battle.  The Collaborative Lawyers’ interests are aligned with your interests:  If we help you reach an agreement, we succeed; if the lawyers cause unnecessary fighting and you are unable to reach an agreement, we get fired (this is known as the “Disqualification Clause“).

Fortunately, the vast majority of Collaborative Divorce matters come to a full resolution.  In my experience, 90%+ of Collaborative matters have concluded with a full agreement in place.  So though we can never guarantee that you and your spouse will reach an agreement, chances are that you will.

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ChatGPT on Collaborative Divorce

Does ChatGPT Get Collaborative Divorce Right?

We have been hearing a lot about ChatGPT over the last few months.  For those unaware, ChatGPT is a form of artificial intelligence that uses plain language to produce an answer to a prompt.  According to a ChatGPT FAQ page, “These models were trained on vast amounts of data from the internet written by humans, including conversations, so the responses it provides may sound human-like. It is important to keep in mind that this is a direct result of the system’s design (i.e. maximizing the similarity between outputs and the dataset the models were trained on) and that such outputs may be inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times.”

So, does AI get Collaborative Divorce correct?

The Prompt

The way that the program works is that, in plain language, you ask a question or make a request, and it produces a response.  For these purposes, I entered the following prompt: “Explain Collaborative Divorce in a blog post.”  The first response provided 6 paragraphs of text.  To simplify things, I refined my query, and I asked it to respond in 3 paragraphs.

Below is the result.

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