Traditionally, divorce has been an adversarial process, with lawyers making arguments in front of a judge about what his or her client should get. And yet, you are probably not looking to get in a prolonged battle with your spouse; rather, you are likely looking to move on with your life and ensure your kids do not get caught in the middle. This is why I specialize in Collaborative Divorce, which unbundles divorce negotiations from the adversarial court process. In effect, I am a resolution specialist.
Now may be a tough time if you are considering divorce. Your mind is racing, your future is unsettled, and your questions are unanswered. But rest assured, there are things that you can do to prepare for divorce.
Here are the top 3 tips for you to consider when you are preparing for divorce.
1. Gather Your Financial Documents
As part of any divorce process, you and your spouse are going to need to divide your marital assets and debts. These could include funds in checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and other accounts. These would also include liabilities such as mortgages, credit cards, charge cards, and loans. Your marital assets might also include cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Ethereum. You should make sure that you have access to (or make copies of) documents, statements, and/or screenshots reflecting all of these so you and your lawyer know what there is to divide.
If you have children and are going through a divorce, your biggest concern is likely how your kids will be affected. When is the best time to tell your children, and how much should you share with them?
Your Children Will Know
Your children will know that something is going on, and leaving them in the dark may cause more apprehension and stress in them than just being upfront. Establish a united front early in the process, and tell your children together that you are separating. Assure them that while things will be different, everything will be okay. Alleviate their fears that your divorce is in any way their faults. Remind them often during the process that everything will fine and it is not their faults.
When determining which attorney to hire for your divorce, you may be tempted to believe that your best option is to hire an overly-aggressive lawyer. But is that truly going to benefit you and your family? Do you want to make your spouse “the enemy” and make your children collateral damage? Well, there is another option. Instead, you can hire a family-focused divorce lawyer.
In the video below, Minnesota collaborative attorney Ron Ousky, former president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, discusses, among other things, why you should consider hiring a family-focused divorce lawyer.
On May 18, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court published an opinion approving collaborative law rules. The collaborative law rules are the last step necessary before Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act goes into effect.
The opinion approves Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.19 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.745.
Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.19
Florida Bar Rule 4-1.19 is a rule of professional conduct. It creates certain obligations of attorneys representing clients within the collaborative process. Among other things, the rule requires collaborative lawyers to do the following when contemplating collaborative practice with a client:
- Provide sufficient information about the benefits and risks of the collaborative process;
- Explain alternatives to the collaborative process, including litigation and mediation;
This year marked the fifth anniversary of this firm, and also the evolution from a general family law practice as The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., to an exclusively out-of-court practice as Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm. We refocused on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services, and we adopted a new website, FamilyDiplomacy.com, which contained our new blog.
Below you will find the ten most viewed blog posts of the year on FamilyDiplomacy.com:
We see it in the news and magazines all of the time. Publicly available divorce documents accuse a celebrity of secretly supporting a child born out of wedlock. Sports figures’ assets and judgment become public spectacles. Politicians and their spouses lob accusations at each other for all to see. Businessmen’s private details and dirty laundry end up as front page stories.
Fortunately, your divorce does not need to be in the public eye…
Now, as it turns out, Stu Webb is not only the founder of collaborative divorce, but he is also an avid fan of Jazz. You can find a short video he helped create comparing collaborative divorce to jazz…
Since I opened my law practice, I have received phone calls from potential clients asking if they could bring their spouse to the divorce consultation. Their purpose was to go to a lawyer together, hear the same information, and demonstrate that they are not trying to hire a “pitbull lawyer” or engage in dirty trial tactics. They simply wanted to dissolve their marriage, and they did not want to fight in order to make the divorce happen…
If you are considering divorce, whether here in Florida or elsewhere, and you are doing online research about family law attorneys, you will come across many firms that describe their attorneys as “aggressive” and “ready to fight for you.”
You will not find that type of language on Family Diplomacy’s website, as we believe that spouses should not be pitted against one another…
The range of techniques that are displayed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship are absolutely breathtaking. From jabs to takedowns to flying armbars, each fighter attacks and counterattacks and does whatever he or she can to get the upper hand over the opponent. Similarly, in the Unified Family Courts, opposing attorneys and opposing parties engage in a variety of tactics in an attempt to build up one side and tear down the other…
Divorce is difficult, but not all divorces are created equally. Here in Tampa Bay and Greater Sarasota, more and more people are choosing to resolve their family law issues via the collaborative process. Collaborative divorce is a method of dispute resolution where the spouses agree from the beginning that they are each going to retain attorneys who will work as settlement specialists and who will not engage in court battles.
Collaborative divorce has one simple requirement: The spouses must each retain attorneys who focus solely on helping them reach an agreement on all issues. The collaborative attorneys are private problem-solving specialists, and they cannot be used in contested court hearings. This requirement creates a safe, non-adversarial environment so that each spouse knows that the other spouse’s attorney is not attempting to gather information to use against him or her later in court. It also ensures that resources are directed towards helping the clients reach an agreement rather than wasted in opposition research or dirty trial tactics.
There are many different models of collaborative divorce that are used throughout the world. The model that is most frequently used here in Florida involves one neutral facilitator, who generally has a mental health background, and one neutral financial professional. This model was created in Texas by, among others, Linda Solomon, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
You can learn more about Linda Solomon and the beginning of this model in the video below from Cutting Edge Law:
In 1969, a Swiss psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, published a book in which she described the five stages of grief experienced by terminally-ill patients. This work was later expanded to help explain the emotions of people who have lost a loved one and others experiencing personal loss, such as spouses going through divorce.
Divorce is a trauma, and anyone going through this trauma may be helped by speaking with a counselor or therapist. Additionally, you should consider whether the collaborative family law process may be helpful to your family, as it is a private form of dispute resolution that generally involves a neutral facilitator, who usually has a mental health background. This is in recognition that divorce is not just a legal matter, but also a highly emotional matter.
Regardless, below are the five stages of grief you may experience if you are going through divorce:
- Virtual Introductory Collaborative Law Training August 2021 July 13, 2021
- Collaborative Divorce: An Unbundled Legal Service June 22, 2021
- Family Diplomacy Opens Sarasota Office June 8, 2021
- Bradenton Adult Adoption Featured on Ellen DeGeneres Show May 25, 2021
- Video: How Does Collaborative Divorce Work? March 30, 2021