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Next Generation Divorce Honors Hillsborough Judge Ashley Moody

As one of my last duties as president of Next Generation Divorce, I had the opportunity to induct Judge Ashley Moody of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit as an Honorary Member of the collaborative practice group at our December holiday party.  Judge Moody, based out of the Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, Florida, has been a strong supporter of the use of collaborative family law as a method to help families resolve issues related to divorce and other matters in a private, nonadversarial, and respectful setting.

Judge Moody’s induction into Next Generation Divorce was announced in the January 15th edition of the Florida Bar News:

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Top 10 Family Diplomacy Blog Posts of 2015

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:

Number 10

A Low Profile Divorce for High Profile People

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…

Number 9

Video: Stu Webb’s Collaborative Divorce & Jazz

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…

Number 8

Tampa Collaborative Divorce Consultation

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…

Number 7

Do You Really Need An “Aggressive” Divorce Lawyer?

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…

Number 6

UFC: Comparing Unified Family Courts with Ultimate Fighting Championship

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…

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Video: Separating Together

A collaborative practice group out of North Carolina called Separating Together has put together an excellent video that emphasizes that divorce is not only a legal process, but it is also an emotional, logistical, and financial process.

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You can see the video below:

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Video: Stu Webb’s Collaborative Divorce & Jazz

Stu Webb is an attorney from Minnesota who one day decided that he no longer wanted to be involved in the destruction of divorce court, and so he created collaborative divorce.  Collaborative divorce is a private process where spouses become teammates rather than opposing parties, and attorneys focus on problem-solving rather than fighting.

Oftentimes accountants, psychologists, financial planners, therapists, and others are used to make sure that not just the legal needs, but also the emotional and financial needs of the spouses are met.

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Collaborative Divorce has become more common here in Tampa Bay as families and attorneys realize that the court system should be seen as a forum of last resort, rather than first resort, to resolve personal issues.

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 after the jump.

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Video: 25 Years of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce and family law began 25 years ago, in 1990, when a Minnesota attorney named Stu Webb decided that he simply no longer wanted to be part of an adversarial divorce process.  He strongly felt that divorce did not belong in the court system: decisions about where children should sleep at night should be made by the parents, and discussions of financial issues should happen around a private conference room table rather than in a public courtroom.

And so, he developed collaborative divorce, where parties agree from the very beginning that their collaborative attorneys cannot be used to fight it out in the court system.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals has put out a video commemorating 25 years of collaborative practice.  You can find the video below the jump.

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Former Florida Supreme Court Justice: Divorce Doesn’t Belong In Court

Rosemary Barkett, the first female Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and former federal judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit believes that the court system is not an appropriate place to resolve divorce-related matters.

[PORTRAIT: Justice Rosemary Barkett]

Below are excerpts from a series of interviews of Justice Barkett conducted between 2006-2009 and recorded as part of the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division Women Trailblazers in the Law program:

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Money Talk 1010 AM: Cost Savings of Collaborative Divorce Compared to Trial Divorce

I recently was at the St. Petersburg studios of Money Talk 1010 AM with fellow attorney Joryn Jenkins to discuss, among other things, how a collaborative divorce tends to make more financial sense then going through the traditional courthouse divorce.  The discussion was facilitated by Let’s Talk Law’s Roxanne Wilder and sponsored by Next Generation Divorce.

The radio program begins around the 5:30 mark after the jump below.

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UFC: Comparing Unified Family Courts with Ultimate Fighting Championship

I am a huge fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, usually referred to by its initials, UFC.  This comes as a big surprise to those getting to know me, because in my professional life I am dedicated to helping Tampa Bay families peacefully resolve their differences via the collaborative law process.  But there is something about the techniques, the artistry, the competition, the drama of a good fight that keeps drawing me to watch the sport.

And yet, I am not a big fan of another UFC, the Unified Family Courts, at least not as a means to resolve family disputes.  Beginning in 1991, a series of Florida Supreme Court opinions set out to create separate court division for families going through divorce, coordinate actions among the judges, and resolve family law issues in a fair, timely, efficient, and cost-effective method.  Though we have incredible and dedicated judges, clerks, and court staff who try their very best, it is still a very flawed system for helping families move on with their lives.

This post looks to compare these two UFCs.

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Money Talk 1010 AM: Introducing Collaborative Divorce

I recently had the opportunity to appear on the Let’s Talk Law radio program along with Licensed Mental Health Counselor Linda Peterman.  We were introducing collaborative divorce to the Tampa Bay listeners of Money Talk 1010 AM and had a great conversation with host Roxanne Wilder.

Collaborative divorce is a private form of dispute resolution where each spouse retains an attorney.  The attorneys only focus on negotiating an agreement, and they are contractually barred from engaging in contested court proceedings.  All negotiations are had in a private conference room rather than the public courthouse.

A neutral facilitator, who generally is licensed in a field of mental health, oftentimes helps the spouses focus on what is most important (such as the welfare of the children) rather than the arguments of the past.  A neutral financial professional, who has either a financial planning or accounting background, is frequently retained to efficiently ensure full financial transparency and aid the spouses to make the transition from married life to financially independent single life.

You can listen to the radio program, which was sponsored by Next Generation Divorce and aired on September 4, 2015 immediately after the Dave Ramsey Show, after the jump.

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Collaborative Divorce in Israel: The Peaceful Divorce

While Collaborative Divorce began in the United States in 1990 when Minnesota family law attorney Stu Webb declared that he would no longer take any new litigated cases, it has spread throughout the world to provide spouses with a private, respectful method to separate.

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One such place that it has spread is Israel, where a practice group named “L’Hitgaresh B’Shalom” based out of Tel Aviv is teaching Israelis how they can constructively restructure their families.  L’Hitgaresh B’Shalom roughly translates as “The Peaceful Divorce,” “To Divorce in Peace,” or “Divorcing Peacefully.”  In a region that is oftentimes in the midst of physical battles, it is amazing that there are professionals who are attempting to insulate families from the destruction of court battles.

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