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Free Communication Tools for Collaborative Law Cases

One of the great things about collaborative law is that families are not handcuffed by the over-scheduled dockets of judges, nor are they bound by the confines of the overcrowded courthouse.  This provides families and professionals with a lot of freedom on how, when, and where they make long-lasting decisions and resolve disputes.

Still, it can sometimes be daunting to organize meetings around the busy lives of spouses and practitioners.  Here are four tools to help communication in collaborative cases, and the best part is that do not cost a dime.

Doodle

One of the toughest initial tasks of any collaborative divorce case is to find a time that works for all of the professionals to plan out how to best help out the family.  Similarly, carving a time that also works for both spouses  for the first full team meeting adds two more calendars to consider.

Fortunately, Doodle provides an easy and free way to help coordinate schedules.  Simply go to their website, provide some basic information such as title for the event, location, description, your name, and your e-mail address, and then fill out a grid for all of the proposed dates and times of your meeting.  Next, provide the e-mail addresses of the people with whom you need to schedule, and Doodle will send out a message inviting everyone to fill out the grid.  Every time someone responds, you will get a notification, and Doodle will indicate the date(s) and time(s) that works best for everyone.  If no time and date works for everyone, simply create another Doodle.

FreeConferenceCall.com

I have found that in person meetings are generally the best way to communicate in collaborative cases.  However, in person meetings are not always possible, and sometimes they are not desirable.

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Technology and Florida Family Law Courts

The Commentator, which is the official magazine of the Florida Bar Family Law Section, recently published an entire issue dedicated to technology utilized in the practice of family law.  Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Catherine M. Catlin was interviewed in this edition, and she discussed the impact of technology in Hillsborough County Family Law Courts:

Q: What types of technology do you use in your family law courtroom?

Judge Catlin: Almost every family law courtroom in Hillsborough County has been installed with Skype [computer video conferencing software]. Skype allows participants in the litigation proceeding, who are not in the courtroom, to feel like part of the proceeding because they can see the judge and the judge can see them. Using Skype also allows the family law judges to swear in witnesses not in the courtroom so that a notary does not need to be on the witness’s end. We can now do adoptions through Skype or telephone. Also, we are cognizant of the cost of expert witnesses and now expert witnesses can testify through Skype, eliminating the portal to portal fees that most experts charge.

Q: What types of technology do you see attorneys use in your courtroom?

Judge Catlin: I see attorneys play back videos such as video depositions or Children’s Justice Center tapes. Also, attorneys themselves bring their laptops to court to take notes. Other than that, there are not a lot of other types of technology used.

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