Collaborative Divorce in Florida
At the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, our family law team helps clients through the often-complex process of divorce. For many, it can be more productive and less stressful by choosing collaborative divorce. It is an option that avoids litigation and often preserves privacy and the interpersonal relationships of the parties. If you and your spouse can agree to participate in alternative dispute tactics, an experienced collaborative divorce lawyer from our firm is here to advocate on your behalf.
What is collaborative divorce?
The typical image of divorce is combative and stressful. Collaborative divorce, in contrast, is a voluntary process that relies on non-litigation methods like mediation. This helps the spouses resolve issues rather than litigating them and having the court decide.
Besides being voluntary and less adversarial, many couples choose the collaborative approach because it takes place outside of the court system. As a result, it creates fewer public records and affords both parties greater privacy. If they choose, collaborative divorce also allows for professionals who can help resolve underlying sources of tension– avoiding repeated cycles of litigation.
Anyone considering collaborative divorce needs to know that it has a unique feature that makes it work. In the beginning, the parties sign an agreement to participate. A key term of the agreement is– if either party chooses to litigate an issue, the collaborative divorce attorney for each party will withdraw, and the parties must retain new lawyers.
The additional work and cost of hiring new lawyers and starting a new proceeding is a strong incentive to continue with the collaboration agreement if things get contentious.
What can be resolved in a collaborative divorce?
- terms of the divorce,
- spousal support,
- division of property,
- child custody,
- and time-sharing.
The collaborative law statute may also be used to resolve contested paternity.
Certain situations are particularly well-suited to the collaborative process. For example, when families are committed to maintaining peaceful co-parenting, collaborative divorce offers flexibility to craft customized parenting schedules. In addition, if there are special assets, like interest in a family business, this approach can lead to more productive ways to divide assets.
For issues to be resolved, the parties must commit to transparency and communication. Disagreements over issues like parenting methods and division of property can negatively impact the process. However, alternative dispute resolution techniques can reduce conflict and serve as bridges of communication.
Is collaborative divorce right for me?
Collaborative divorce offers many benefits to those who commit to it, but it is not for everyone. Some points to consider:
- Voluntary – The process is voluntary– a pro and a con. When both parties agree to participate, they are one step closer to resolving their issues outside of court. However, if the process breaks down, there is no way to force a solution.
- Specialized – Not all divorce lawyers can represent parties in a collaborative divorce– the process is very different from litigation, so each lawyer must be specially trained in collaborative family law.
- Up-front expense – Traditional divorces can lead to cycles of conflict that end up in court. Collaborative divorce costs more upfront, but it often works out to be less expensive in the long run. Some of the additional cost goes toward hiring professionals who help solve underlying conflicts.
Our firm is committed to helping clients understand their options to make informed choices. We can discuss the costs and benefits of collaborative divorce and how it compares to a traditional divorce in light of your goals.
Speak with a Florida collaborative divorce lawyer
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of collaborative divorce and whether the process is right for you, schedule a consultation with a Stuart, FL divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker. Our legal team is trained in the collaborative process and can speak confidentially about your case.
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