Collaborative Divorce in Florida: Is It the Right Choice for You?
The phrase “amicable divorce” has become a cliché, but it still remains an elusive ideal. It can be hard not to regard your ex-spouse as an enemy when the pain of the breakup of your marriage is still fresh. Nonetheless, Florida’s family law system has quite a few safeguards in place to make sure that people do not use the legal system to punish their ex-spouses for perceived slights. Even if your spouse lied to you for years or left you for someone else, you have little to gain by trying to tarnish your ex-spouse’s character in the courtroom. From parenting plans to timesharing, Florida’s legal system has made it easier and easier for families to focus on their common goals, even in the most difficult and painful situations. One of the newest ways that divorcing couples can work together to dissolve their marriages peacefully is collaborative divorce.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
In the summer of 2017, the state of Florida passed new legislation regarding collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is different from litigation, where the parties argue their respective cases in front of a judge. It is also different from mediation, where they argue their cases in front of a mediator, but the mediator’s decision is not legally binding. Instead, in a collaborative divorce, the two spouses work together every step of the way.
Usually, in a collaborative divorce, each spouse hires a lawyer. They meet with their lawyers individually, but the process also involves meetings of all four people: both spouses and both lawyers. They also meet with other experts who give them professional advice about various aspects of their divorce. A financial expert often advises them on how to divide their property equitably. If the couple has minor children, then an expert in the mental health of children helps the parents develop a parenting plan that will help the children thrive. A collaborative divorce can involve a lot of people, but no judges are involved, except to pronounce the marriage legally dissolved at the very end.
Collaborative Divorce Pros and Cons
Having the option of collaborative divorce will come as a great relief to many couples. Litigation is stressful and expensive, and when litigation is involved, it is easy for things to get very ugly, even among couples who originally approached their divorce with the best of intentions for getting through it amicably. In a collaborative divorce setting, it is easy to feel that the experts and lawyers are there to help both spouses. The divorce does not take place in the framework of one spouse against the other. Some couples also choose collaborative divorce because they feel that it allows them more privacy.
When there are very difficult issues involved, collaborative divorce does not work. If the marriage ended because of physical or financial abuse, collaborative divorce is probably not an option. Likewise, if aspects of the parenting plan are hotly contested, litigation is usually the only choice.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Having a divorce attorney you really trust can contribute greatly to the success of your collaborative divorce. Contact Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. in Daytona Beach to see if collaborative divorce is right for you.