What to know about Collaborative Divorce in Florida
There are multiple ways to resolve a divorce. Litigation is the standard method most people think of, but there are alternative methods that are becoming more common. Some of these include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce.
Collaborative Law Basics
With collaborative divorce, each party retains an attorney who is trained in collaborative divorce methods. You will meet with your attorney one-on-one to discuss what your goal is for settlement and what the minimum acceptable result is.
Both sides, as well as the attorneys, are required to sign a participation agreement that confirms that everyone is committed to the collaborative divorce process, which typically includes the following information:
- Parties agree to fully participate in the process in good faith and will openly and freely exchange information between parties;
- Attorneys who represent the parties are bound by the participation agreement and will withdraw from representing their clients if it does not resolve;
- Parties will choose the conditions under which they can terminate the collaborative process without an agreement; and
- All parties agree to keep the status quo concerning their assets and children while negotiations are occurring unless there is a mutual agreement otherwise.
Collaborative divorces typically retain the use of specific experts, like a psychologist, accountant, or even a child specialist. One major difference here is the ability to save legal expenses by sharing experts. With a standard litigated divorce, each side will retain their own experts to testify against the other. With collaborative divorce, the experts will serve as objective third parties who help both sides resolve their issues.
There are some similarities to mediation, but collaborative divorce doesn’t use a third-party mediator. The court cannot order parties to participate in collaborative divorce, but it may require parties to try mediation.
Differences with Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce differs from standard litigation in a variety of ways. Traditional divorce is often more stressful, and can certainly cost more. With collaborative divorce, the sides will get together and talk about what issues are still outstanding. Parties in a collaborative divorce proceed at a pace that works for them, rather than at a speed that the court dictates.
One of the biggest differences with a collaborative divorce is the inability to use the same attorneys if the process breaks down. With mediation, you are still in the divorce litigation process and the case proceeds towards trial. With a collaborative divorce, both parties and their attorneys have to agree to part ways if the process breaks down, and each side is required to retain new attorneys. This can mean a lot more in legal fees since you are starting over from scratch and retaining new counsel. With collaborative divorce, sharing experts means you save money, whereas, in a traditional contested divorce, you will each need to retain your own experts.
Retaining a Florida Collaborative Divorce Attorney
If you want to learn more about the collaborative divorce process, you need to speak with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of Schwartz |White, we have experience in family law matters, including collaborative divorce. Contact our office at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.