Tag Archive for: collaborative mental health professional

Collaborative Law Answer to Divorce Corp. Highlighted Problems

A film entitled “Divorce Corp.” has been getting a lot of buzz lately by highlighting some of the problems with the current state of divorce.  Though the film has been controversial among family law professionals, as it is said to focus on the extreme of family law cases, there is an answer to the traditional courtroom divorce industry as portrayed in Divorce Corp.: collaborative law, which is now offered throughout Florida.

Collaborative attorney Sandra Crawford recently wrote a piece about collaborative law for the Courier-News in response to Divorce Corp.:

The philosophy behind collaborative law is simple: Even if your marriage fails, that doesn’t mean you have to carry that failure over into your post-marriage lives.

Traditionally, divorces have been litigated matters, characterized by drawn-out, expensive and combative affairs in which each side “lawyers up.”

Now practiced in at least 25 countries, collaborative divorce (aka collaborative law or collaborative practice) is a “no-court-client-centered” dispute resolution process that separating spouses can use with the help of professionals (licensed legal, mental health and financial professionals) trained in collaborative law and mediation.

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Video: Tampa Collaborative Law Streamlined Protocols Training Overview

Attorneys, psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, accountants, financial advisers, and mediators interested in being trained to offer cost-effective collaborative practice services to family law and other clients will have the opportunity March 20-22, 2014, in Tampa, Florida.  Next Generation Divorce and the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group are sponsoring a 3-day basic and advanced training in the Streamlined Protocols of Collaborative Law.

Vicki Carpel-Miller, one of the collaborative trainers, provides an overview of the streamlined protocols training in the video below (after the jump):

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Collaborative Divorce Consultation: I Will Meet With Both Spouses

When prospective divorce clients call in my Tampa office and ask whether both spouses can attend a consultation, they are often relieved to learn that I am willing to meet with both spouses.  I did not always have this policy.  In fact, most Florida divorce attorneys refuse to allow both parties to attend a consultation together.

There is a strict prohibition against an attorney representing both parties to a divorce, and most lawyers want to avoid even the appearance of representing both spouses.

And I, like other attorneys, cannot represent both spouses.  But what I can do is invite divorcing spouses into my office and discuss with them the available process options.  Of course, I will talk with them about traditional litigation, which is the court battle that often comes to mind when people think about divorce.  I will bring up mediation, which is a great form of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties to come to an agreement, but which leaves open the door for their mediation attorneys to engage in detrimental litigation if a full settlement is not reached.

And I will talk about collaborative divorce, which is a voluntary, private process in which the parties and their attorneys agree from the very beginning that they do not want to engage in nasty, public court fights.  In fact, the spouses, who each will have their own individual attorney, sign a participation agreement that states that their attorneys must withdraw if the parties cannot come to an agreement.  Collaborative divorce has a success rate of nearly 90%, so this withdrawal clause hardly ever comes into play, but it allows clients to be open in negotiations without worrying that their spouse’s attorney is keeping an ear open for opposition research to use in trial later on.

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St. Petersburg and Clearwater Bar Associations Hold CLE on Collaborative Divorce

The urge for a more humane way to practice divorce law has hit Pinellas County.  The days of pitting husband versus wife, mother versus father in an adversarial courtroom divorce have both attorneys and clients pining for a private, healthier alternative to deal with family law issues.

And so the Saint Petersburg Bar Association and Clearwater Bar Association have invited Adam B. Cordover, Esq., John L. Sullivan, IV, CDFA, and James B. Morris, Jr., Ph.D., to discuss the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce model at their annual Family Law Update.  The 2014 Family Law Update is approved for 4.0 general continuing legal education hours and 3.5 hours for purposes of Marital and Family Law certification.

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What Is A Florida Parenting Plan?

Any Florida parent who is going through a divorce with children or otherwise dealing with child custody issues will need to have a parenting plan.  A parenting plan is document that is either agreed upon by the parents or created by a judge that sets out each parents’ rights and responsibilities.  The Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pinellas and Pasco Counties) further describes a parenting plan as follows:

It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. Florida Statutes, section 61.13(2)(c).

A parenting plan is a document developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, and approved by the court, or if the parents cannot agree, established by the court, which governs the relationship between the parents regarding the child (encompassing “custody”, “parental responsibility”, and “visitation”). A parenting plan may address issues such as the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being, and must include a time-sharing schedule. The parenting plan must take into account the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction when addressing jurisdictional issues.

For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent’s relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.

Any parenting plan approved by a court must address the following issues:

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Collaborative Divorce Comes To Sarasota & Manatee Counties

From Brian Pope, MBA, CDFA, and Cindy Barry, Esq.:

I am extremely pleased to announce that there is a new group in town!  The “Next Generation Divorce” group for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit has been formed as an expansion of “Next Generation Divorce” of Tampa Bay.

Next Generation Divorce

As the President of the Twelfth Judicial branch of the Next Generation Divorce group (Cindy Barry, not me), it is my sincere pleasure to extend an invitation to the bench and Bar of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit to attend a free presentation on collaborative law on February 6, 2014, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  in the Palm Room at the Sarabay Country Club located at 7011 Willow Street, Sarasota, Florida, 34243.  There will be a variety of complimentary Hors d’Ouerves and a cash bar available for libations.

Our guest speaker is the President of the Tampa Bay area “Next Generation Divorce”, Mr. Adam Cordover, Esq.   He will be sharing the successes of the collaborative law practices in the greater Tampa Bay area and answering questions on how to incorporate collaborative law into your practice.   Of course, there will be a social hour immediately following the presentation.

It is an exciting time as “Next Generation Divorce” is an active and professional group of Attorneys, Mental Health Professionals and Financial Professionals that have been collaboratively trained to help remove court cases from the traditional Court system.  You can visit our website at www.nextgenerationdivorce.com.

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A Really Quick Divorce Option in Florida

The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a form of collaborative family law being offered as a “Weekend Divorce.”  Here is more:

Breaking up is hard to do—even when both husband and wife are ready to bring their marriage to an end. As a result, divorce can often be financially devastating and time consuming.

Against that backdrop, attorneys Sandra Young and Brian Garvey have developed an innovative antidote that is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere: “The Weekend Divorce.”

A centerpiece of their streamlined approach is booking a hotel conference room for two days and negotiating every detail of the divorce agreement and signing all documents by the time the couple leaves on Sunday.

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Collaborative Divorce (aka Collaborative Law or Collaborative Practice) is a “no-court-client-centered” dispute resolution process that separating spouses can use with the help of specially trained and licensed legal, mental health and financial professionals.

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Best Way to Divorce in Tampa Bay

Let’s face it.  Divorce is a very trying process.  The person to whom you said “I do” now says “I won’t,” and your life is turned upside down.  But you don’t need to make the experience more traumatic by going through a nasty court-based divorce.

It is becoming the opinion of more attorneys and mental health professionals that the best way to go through divorce is via the collaborative process.  Collaborative divorce is a private way of resolving disputes.  Each spouse hires their own attorney who commits to treating both spouses with respect and dignity.  The husband’s attorney advises the husband, and the wife’s attorney advises the wife, but they try to develop options that restructures the family in the least destructive manner possible.  Further, the attorneys are contractually barred from bringing contested issues in front of a judge, so they will not be conducting opposition research or take other tactics which tend to tear families apart.

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How to Avoid a Nasty Divorce Battle in Tampa Bay

When people come to my office for the first time to discuss their Tampa Bay divorce, they are often nervous because they want to end their marriage, but they don’t want to have the knock-down, drag-out court battles that they frequently hear about in the news.  They simply want to resolve their family disputes as quickly, privately, and respectfully as possible, while also ensuring that they do not get the raw end of the deal.

And so many of these spouses are pleasantly surprised when I let them know that there is an option which fits all of these criteria: collaborative divorce.

The first and most important defining feature of collaborative divorce is that the parties each have their own attorney, and everyone agrees that they will not let a judge decide disputed issues.  In fact, the attorneys are contractually barred from filing any contested motions or bringing matters that have not yet been agreed upon before a judge.  This means that the parties and their attorneys will not be trying to tear each other down in a public forum and say things that cannot go unsaid.  Rather, they meet in private offices on the parties’ schedules and agree that all discussion held in the meetings will be confidential until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

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Private Child Custody Proceedings: Florida Collaborative Practice

When people are seeking to gain child custody rights in Florida – whether through divorce, paternity, establishment of parenting plan, grandparent custody, or other proceedings – the first step they usually take is file a petition with the Clerk of the Court.

Generally speaking, this is a mistake.

By filing a petition, they are entering into the public court system which pits mother against father.  This is an adversarial system which oftentimes leads parties to engage in emotionally and financially draining court battles, and all dirty laundry gets examined and aired.

But there is another way, a private way of determining parental responsibility and child time-sharing schedules.  It is called collaborative practice, also known as collaborative family law.

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