Tag Archive for: Collaborative Law

Divorcing Wealthy in Florida

What is the best way to end up wealthy after divorce?  It is by being even wealthier before divorce.  The truth is that divorce is not cheap.  But there are things that you can do to help preserve your wealth even if your marriage is ending.

Retain a Neutral Financial Professional

One of the biggest challenges when going through divorce is that one spouse typically knows more about the family finances than the other spouse.  If you are the spouse with the knowledge, this can be frustrating because you feel you are making reasonable proposals that would benefit your spouse, and yet your spouse is outright rejecting them or refuses to make a decision, costing your family even more time and money.  If you are the spouse without knowledge of the family finances, you feel like your spouse is trying to control you by badgering you to agree to their proposal, but how can you even make a decision that could have disastrous consequences for your long term financial future?

This is where a Neutral Financial Professional comes in.

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The Neutral Financial Professional in Collaborative Divorce: Saving Your Family Time and Money

Are you considering divorce? If so, you’re likely familiar with the emotional strain that comes with it. But amidst the whirlwind of emotions, it’s easy to overlook the importance of your family’s financial future when considering your divorce options. That’s where a Neutral Financial Professional steps in as an invaluable member of a Collaborative Divorce team. Let’s delve into what a Financial Professional does in this process and how they can help your family save money while preserving your financial well-being.

Collaborative Divorce

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the Collaborative Divorce approach. Unlike traditional litigated divorces, where trial lawyers are retained and there is the constant threat or reality of a court battle, Collaborative Divorce emphasizes transparency, cooperation, and durable resolutions. The Collaborative Team typically comprises of specially-trained lawyers for each spouse, a team leader known as a Neutral Facilitator, and a Neutral Financial Professional. All professionals, once the process starts, can only help with out-of-court dispute resolution, and they are prohibited from being used to fight in court.  The Collaborative Approach fosters open communication, leading to more amicable resolutions and, compared to litigated court battles, significant cost savings.

Role of the Neutral Financial Professional

Now, let’s shine a light on the role of the Neutral Financial Professional on the Collaborative Divorce team. As a Collaborative Lawyer, I often emphasize the pivotal role they play in ensuring fair and sustainable financial outcomes for both spouses. Here’s how they do it:

1. Financial Clarity

Divorce involves complex financial matters, from asset division to spousal support and child support. A Neutral Financial Professional brings clarity to this complexity by helping each of you analyze your financial situation.   This is important, as it is common in divorce for one spouse to be less knowledgeable about the family’s finances than the other spouse.  This disparity in knowledge oftentimes causes one spouse to freeze in the face of making long-term decisions out of fear of making the wrong decision, causes long delays and increased fees for both spouses.

Accordingly, the Financial Professional helps explain your family’s assets, liabilities, income, and expenses to provide a clear picture of your financial standing. This clarity is crucial for making informed decisions during negotiations, preventing surprises down the road.

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Collaborative Jewish Divorce

In these uncertain times, if you are Jewish and considering divorce, you may wonder where you can safely turn.  I have watched in horror at the chants of “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville in 2017, the massacres of Israeli civilians on October 7th, and the more recent intimidation of Jewish students on campuses across the U.S.  I have personally experienced people telling antisemitic jokes to me, apparently not realizing that I was Jewish.   If, with this as a backdrop, you are facing the upheaval of divorce, let us help you and your family through a Collaborative Jewish Divorce.

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Defining “Collaborative Mediation”

If you do a Google search for “Collaborative Mediation,” you will get all sorts of results, many of which have nothing to do with one another.  Many articles simply point out the differences between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation (one of my blog posts would be included with this group).

Other articles will use the term to be a synonym with Collaborative Divorce, referring to neutral professionals (typically a financial professional and licensed mental health professional) as mediators, even if those professionals have not been trained as mediators.  This seems misleading to me.   Still, other articles use the term to mean a friendly mediation or an interdisciplinary co-mediation where lawyers are optional.  I have concerns about those articles because, despite using the term “collaborative,” what they describe is not a Collaborative Law Process as defined by the Florida Statutes or Uniform Collaborative Law Act/Rules.  Again, this is misleading.

I recently was at the 12th Annual Conference of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”) where I presented on the topic of “Collaborative Mediation: Engaging Mediators in the Collaborative Process.”  My co-presenters were Heather McArthur, co-founder and president of Collaborative Professionals of Central Florida and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, and Keith Grossman, a Florida Supreme Court Approved Primary Family Mediation Trainer and president of the Southwest Florida Collaborative Professionals Association.

As I have not found a good definition anywhere else, one of my goals in co-presenting on this topic (and writing this article) was to define the term “Collaborative Mediation.”  Additionally, I hoped to shed light on this distinct model of Collaborative Practice, find a way to better engage mediators in the Collaborative Process, and offer an option under certain circumstances that could bring more clients and lawyers into the Collaborative Method.

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Collaborative Divorce: What Does A Facilitator Do?

In a Collaborative Divorce, the Facilitator plays a crucial role in keeping everyone on task, aiding communication, managing emotions between you and your spouse, and, where applicable, tailoring a parenting plan for your children. A Facilitator is a professional who is licensed under Chapter 490 or 491, Florida Statutes.  Here are some specific tasks they might undertake:

1. Project Management:

Facilitators are the project managers of the Collaborative Process.  Without a clear direction, divorce negotiations can get off track real fast.  The Facilitator keeps you and your lawyers focused on your interests rather than positions, works so that we are making the most efficient use of your time and money during team meetings, and checks in to see whether everyone has completed the tasks assigned to them.

2. Emotional Support:

Facilitators provide emotional support to both you and your spouse throughout the Collaborative Process. Divorce can be a highly stressful and emotional experience, even under the best of circumstances, and having a trained professional to talk to can be invaluable.

3. Communication Facilitation:

They help facilitate communication between the you and your spouse, ensuring that discussions remain productive and respectful. This can include helping each each of you express your needs and concerns effectively and ensuring that you both feel heard and understood.

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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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Sarasota Collaborative Divorce Review: Solid Legal Advice

Most people going through divorce are not looking to make an enemy out of their spouse.  Rather, they are seeking to move on with their lives and make sure that they — and their kids, if any — are okay at the end of the day.  That is why we specialize in Collaborative Divorce, a private and more humane way to resolve family disputes.

Here is a recent review that a client left on the Google page of our Sarasota office.

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ABA Approves Collaborative Law Resolution 703

The American Bar Association (“ABA”) House of Delegates has just approved Resolution 703, which promotes the Uniform Collaborative Law Act and Uniform Collaborative Law Rules (“UCLA”).  In 2016, after many years of effort from professionals around the state, Florida adopted a version of the UCLA for use in divorce and family law.

Below are parts of the text (citations omitted) from Resolution 703:

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2024 FACP Conference Early Bird Rate Ends This Week

I am excited to lead a workshop at the 12th Annual Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“FACP”) Conference, taking place April 18-20, 2024, in Boca Raton, Florida.  The Conference, which is dedicated to lawyers, judges, mental health professionals, financial professionals, mediators, and other professionals who want to help divorcing families in a better way, has an early bird registration rate that ends March 8, 2024.

Click Here to Learn More About the Conference and Register

 

From the Conference Website:

The theme of the conference is All the Pieces Matter: Getting the Most Out of Your Team.

Teamwork is the bedrock of the Collaborative Process. Building the right team to lead divorcing clients through difficult decision-making is critical to the success of the Collaborative matter. This year’s conference will look at how teamwork can make the impossible come true. We will share with our FACP membership unique techniques, experiences, protocols and methods colleagues and Collaborative leaders have created and applied, which have promoted more successful divorce outcomes in their Collaborative matters.

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How Does Our Collaborative Divorce Retainer Work?

If you have been considering divorce, hopefully you have looked at the private and non-adversarial Collaborative option.  If so, you may recognize that it is a better option for most families as you and your attorneys are working together to reach a resolution rather than wasting time and money on preparing for a trial that likely will never happen.  After all, 80 to 90+% of all divorces end in an agreement rather than a judge-imposed solution; accordingly, in Collaborative Divorce, the attorneys and other professionals focus solely on reaching an out-of-court agreement and are prohibited from engaging in contested court hearings.

You may have heard that lawyers generally require retainers.  Our firm believes in transparency, including transparency of retainers.  The goal of this post is to inform you of our requirements and make sure you are knowledgeable on and comfortable with how we operate.

How Our Collaborative Divorce Retainer Works

Here is how our Collaborative Divorce retainer works:  Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm requires a non-refundable Initial Fee and a credit card or debit card to securely hold on file.  The Initial Fee typically ranges between $4,000 to $6,000.  Our hourly rate goes against the Initial Fee.  If the Initial Fee gets used up, so long as you have a valid card on file we do not require any additional retainers, unlike most other firms.  Rather, we will charge your card on a pay-as-you-go basis.

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