The Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
The process of dissolving a marriage is notorious for being emotionally taxing for all parties involved, especially for those who have children. While the traditional setting for many divorces is the courtroom, other options that involve out-of-court negotiations have become increasingly popular in Florida. Collaborative divorce in particular has saved divorcing parties both time and money in the long run and has helped ensure that divorce proceedings are resolved as quickly and amicably as possible. While collaboration during the divorce process is not always possible, it is worth exploring for most couples, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, you should contact an experienced Florida divorce mediation lawyer who is well-versed in the issues that you may face and can walk you through your legal options, which could involve mediation or collaborative divorce.
Litigation vs. Collaboration
Divorces were traditionally handled in court, which often made proceedings much more adversarial and contentious. In addition to making it much less likely that both parties would be happy with the final property settlement or custody arrangement put in place by the judge, these arrangements tended to result in animosity between the parties, as well as higher legal fees and more in-court appearances.
In an effort to reduce these types of stresses, Florida family law courts began promoting less adversarial options, in which the parties worked together instead of against each other. The objective of both parties in a collaborative divorce, for instance, is to negotiate and come to a solution that best serves the needs of both parties. These negotiations take place during four way meetings between both parties and their attorneys and can involve almost any type of family law dispute, including child support, alimony, property division, and child custody.
There are a variety of benefits to attempting a collaborative divorce. For instance, all information raised during negotiations is kept confidential, unlike court proceedings, where a couple’s information becomes a matter of public record. Collaborative divorce also gives the participants the freedom to determine the pace of the resolution, as well as the outcome, has proven to be less expensive than litigation, and is geared towards preserving family relationships, rather than damaging them.
Initiating a Collaborative Divorce
To ensure that both parties are committed to non-adversarial, negotiation-based divorce proceedings, courts require both parties to a collaborative divorce to enter into a binding contract known as a Participation Agreement, in which they pledge to avoid litigation in court. Information and documents are then voluntarily exchanged, mental health professionals are retained to act as facilitators, a certified public accountant or a financial planner helps both parties gather information about their assets, income, expenses, and debts and helps negotiate a settlement agreement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the attorneys representing the parties will be required to withdraw from further representation of their clients and the spouses will be required to litigate the issues, ultimately leaving their resolution in the hands of a judge.
Contact Our Office
To find out whether the collaborative divorce process is right for you and your family, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce mediation lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.