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Video: 4 Principles of Collaborative Divorce

In the video below, attorney Lee Rosen discusses collaborative divorce, including four principles that make a family law matter collaborative:

Rosen points out that, pursuant to the collaborative participation agreement clients sign to begin the process, a collaborative divorce includes the following principles:

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Family Law Courtroom Etiquette in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties

It’s always good to make a good impression when going into a Florida Family Law Court, and one of the best ways to make a good impression is to follow proper etiquette.  Fortunately, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit has published its Rules of Etiquette for Family Law cases in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties:

1. Be aware that the judges, general magistrates, hearing officers, or any other court personnel cannot give you legal advice. You may only obtain legal advice from an attorney. You may obtain general information from the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s website at www.jud12.flcourts.org.

2. Arrive at least twenty (20) minutes before your hearing is scheduled to begin. There are unpredictable times when legal emergencies pressure the court to begin as early as possible. You should know that a judge may also dismiss your case if you are not present at the scheduled time.

3. All persons appearing before the court must dress in an appropriate manner. Shorts, hats, flip-flops, jeans, sneakers, tee shirts, and tank tops are not suitable for the courtroom.

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Collaborative Divorce Video: A True Life Story Part 2

Just as more divorcing spouses in Tampa are seeking an alternative to the usual courtroom battles, the use of the collaborative family law process is growing around the country.  Collaborative Practice California has produced a video which follows an actual couple going through a collaborative divorce.

I previously posted Part 1 of the video.  After the jump, Part 2 of the video shows how the couple handles difficult emotional and financial issues in the collaborative process:

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Collaborative Divorce Video: A True Life Story Part 1

Like Tampa, California has seen a need for a divorce process that does not pit spouses against one another in courtroom battles.  To that end, Collaborative Practice California has produced the following video which follows an actual divorcing couple through the process of collaborative family law:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8qlrg7pe7E

Part 2 of the video to be posted within the coming days.

Like California, Tampa Bay has a group of attorneys, facilitators/coaches, accountants, and financial planners who are trained in the interdisciplinary collaborative process:

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Tampa Divorce: Adversarial versus Collaborative

If you are getting divorced in Tampa Bay, you have two main options:  Enter the adversarial system or utilize the collaborative process.  How is adversarial divorce different from collaborative divorce?

The term “adversarial” is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “pertaining to or characterized by antagonism and conflict.”

Anyone who has gone through the traditional divorce litigation process can probably relate and understand why the Florida court system is known as an adversarial system.  A Husband and Wife are forced to face off as adversaries, with each often trying to prove the other a bad parent with poor morals and terrible financial habits, to boot.  They are treated as opposing parties with dueling experts and contrary interests.  Their personal lives are poked and prodded and laid bare in a public forum as they get judged by, well, a judge.  Mediation may be utilized, but litigation attorneys always maintain the threat to do battle in court.

Contrast this to collaborative divorce, a form of dispute resolution offered in Tampa Bay.  A Husband and Wife are treated not as adversaries, but as members of a team who, along with their collaborative attorneys and other professionals, are simply looking for options to settle differences.  A facilitator ensures that communication remains productive and that the spouses focus on their common interests, such as their children.  Often times, a neutral financial professional will help the spouses learn how to maximize the benefit of their assets while minimizing the impact of debt.

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Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce In A Weekend

I recently came across an article by Sandra Young and Brian Garvey, collaborative divorce lawyers in Illinois, who offer what they refer to as a “Divorce Weekend.”  This is a fascinating model of collaborative divorce which offers the option of a quick settlement, and there is no reason why a weekend collaborative divorce cannot take place here in Tampa Bay.

This is how the model works:

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Florida Divorce – What If I Deny That My Marriage Is Irretrievably Broken?

In the 1970’s, Florida followed the trend of other states by adopting “no fault divorce.”  Prior to this, parties needed to allege a reason for a divorce, such as infidelity, domestic violence, or impotence.  Once Florida become a no fault state, all that needed to be alleged was that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

But what if one party denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken?  Florida Statutes section 61.052(2)(b) addresses this possibility:

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Tampa Court Publishes Requirements for Divorce

In an effort to make the process for divorce clearer to litigants in Hillsborough County, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit has published the following Requirements for Dissolution of Marriage:

1.  PROOF OF RESIDENCY. 6 months prior to filing Petition. May be proved by drivers license, voter I.D., Affidavit of Corroborating Witness; or testimony of witness. Section 61.052(2), Fla. Stat.

2.  U.C.C.J.E.A. If any minor child or children born as a result of the marriage. Section 61.501 -61.542, Fla. Stat. (2002)

3.  FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS for each spouse, Rule 12.285(d)(1), Family Law Rules. (This requirement may not be waived if there are financial issues.) Under $50K/Yr. – Over $50K/Yr.

4.  COMPLETED CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES WORKSHEET, if there are minor children. Family Law Rules Form 12.902(e).

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Florida Support Unconnected With Divorce

Section 61.09 of the Florida Statutes allows a spouse to request alimony (also referred to as “separate maintenance” or “spousal support”) and/or child support without asking for divorce.

There are various reasons why a spouse may file a case for support without asking for a divorce:

  • Florida does not recognize the status of “legal separation,” so this process allows a spouse to have a trial period apart without having to make a decision regarding divorce;
  • A party may not want a divorce because of religious beliefs;
  • A spouse may not want to go through a divorce while his or her children are still under the age of 18 or living in the home; or
  • A person may not have met the six month residency requirement to file for divorce (Florida requires that at least one party to a divorce reside in the state for at least six months prior to the filing of divorce; a proceeding for support unconnected to divorce has no such residency requirement).

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Florida Divorce – Time to Respond to a Petition

It is important for every person who is served with a Florida petition for dissolution of marriage to respond to the petition in a timely manner.

The petition, which sets out what a person wants a judge to do (such as dissolve the marriage, rule on custody, order child support, and divide marital property and debt), is generally personally served by a sheriff’s deputy or other authorized process server.  Once served, the respondent has 20 days to provide an answer to the petition and agree or disagree with the petitioner’s requests and allegations.

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