What are the Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce in Florida?
Florida is one of a handful of states that passed a law allowing the use of a collaborative process in family law matters, including divorce. If you haven’t heard of collaborative divorce, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what it is, as well as the possible pros and cons.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
The idea behind collaborative divorce is where the parties work together, or collaborate, on a resolution. This is a stark contrast to the mental picture most people have about divorce where the soon to be ex-spouses are battling it out in the courtroom for everything and anything, just to “beat” the other person. The premise behind collaborative divorce is that with parties working together, the families would spend less money, avoid lengthy court battles, and the divorce would be more amicable.
To take part in a collaborative divorce, both parties must agree to it, and it can be started in lieu of litigation.
The Potential Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
There are a number of potential benefits that collaborative divorce affords both sides. One of the main benefits is the ability to keep the process confidential. Both parties agree to keep all aspects of the process and settlement confidential, and because it is not filed with the court, there is no public record that people can get a hold of.
Collaborative divorce can save considerable time and help speed things along. Because you aren’t bound by various court deadlines and hearing dates, it’s possible to move the process along much quicker. In general, people often resolve their dissolution far more quickly than if they had gone the traditional litigation route.
Both parties can save a lot of money opting for collaborative divorce because you aren’t paying for high-cost expenses like experts and formal court proceeding prep work, etc. Instead, you and your spouse agree to consult together with any necessary experts like mental health professionals, financial valuation experts, and more, and you typically split the cost. This is very different than a traditional divorce where you would each retain your own expensive experts.
Attitudes are typically different with collaborative divorce since it’s a voluntary process that both spouses agree to do, therefore they are more likely to work harder to achieve a good resolution and honor it once the divorce is final.
Potential Negatives to Collaborative Divorce
While there are a number of undeniable benefits to utilizing collaborative divorce, there are some instances where it may have some drawbacks as well. One of the main concerns about collaborative divorce is the ability to trust your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to be honest in disclosing all assets, accounts, and debts. Lack of trust is typically one of the main reasons couples are divorcing in the first place.
If you do not reach an agreement, it’s standard that you both have to hire new attorneys for the court process. And, you won’t avoid the courtroom completely — you’ll still need to attend a hearing where your settlement agreement is submitted.
If there are allegations of domestic violence, a judge may not accept a collaborative divorce agreement. And, the lack of independent experts could work against you, especially with business valuations. It could end up costing you if you don’t agree with the shared expert.
Retaining a Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about collaborative divorce or are completing filing for divorce, you need a skilled Florida family law attorney. Contact the team at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White on our website or call our office at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.