Choosing the Collaborative Law Process for your divorce offers you a wealth of benefits not typically available in a traditional court divorce, and our Florida Legislature has created a State Law that supports the Collaborative Law Process.
On March 24, 2016, Governor Rick Scott signed The Collaborative Law Process Act into law “to create a uniform system of practice for the collaborative law process in this State…and to encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes…”
By signing the Collaborative Law Process Act, Florida confirmed that it recognizes the collaborative process as a unique alternative for couples to resolve their differences without having to engage in costly court battles and other destructive litigation as part of all out warfare on the other spouse.
Here’s an interesting fact…the collaborative process is used throughout the United States and in 24 countries!
So what are the top three benefits you will get from a collaborative process that you will not get if you choose to submit your family and its issues to a Judge?
BENEFIT #1 – YOUR DIVORCE IS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
When a typical divorce begins, one spouse will prepare court documents that will be filed and served upon the other spouse. When you file documents with a court, everything in those documents is available to the public. It would be like standing on the highest mountain on earth and shouting that you and your spouse are getting divorced along with all of the financial details and your family’s other “dirty laundry.” Everyone will know what should be a private affair.
The collaborative process provides that communications made during the process are confidential. You have a privilege to keep those communications private and to prohibit them from being disclosed to anyone.
BENEFIT #2 – LESS TIME TO GET YOUR DIVORCE
When you submit your family’s issues to a court to decide what is best for your family you will likely have to file motions, attend hearings, and timely respond to your spouse’s formal requests for information. This means that you will be at the mercy of the court’s calendar and availability. If you need the court to make a decision regarding an issue in your divorce, it may be 3 to 5 months before you can get in front of the Judge assigned to your case, and you may not receive a decision in your favor.
The collaborative process can reduce the amount of time it takes to get divorced. There are no motions, no court hearings, and no formal discovery requests seeking your private information. Rather, the collaborative process is transparent. Documents and other information is voluntarily provided and exchanged between you and your spouse.
Not having to rely on the court will likely provide you with a divorce much quicker than the traditional courtroom battle divorce.
BENEFIT #3 – IT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
Courtroom divorce battles can drag on for years and cost a family its entire estate and life savings in fees. In a typical family case fought in the courtroom, emotional issues, anger, resentment, and disputes over children can dominate an attorney’s time and mental energy which results in significantly increased fees and costs you have to pay.
It is not uncommon for people to withdraw 401(k) funds, sell stocks, homes, cars, and other belongings to be able to pay for their attorney’s fees, expert fees, and costs. In addition, many divorce legal battles involve one spouse not having enough money to be able to afford an attorney.
If you choose the collaborative process for your divorce, both you and your spouse will have the same access to family funds to pay for your divorce. Moreover, since there will be no motions and hearings, you will not have to spend money on often needless and unnecessary legal gamesmanship.
Those are just three of the benefits you will likely take advantage of when you choose the collaborative process. There are many more!
I encourage you to explore the collaborative process for your divorce or other family law legal matter. All of the attorneys at The Marks Law Firm are collaboratively trained and experienced which sets them apart from other law firms. Give us a call today at (407) 872-3161 to schedule an appointment to talk about your options and how the collaborative process might work for you.
Arthur J. Grossman III is a Senior Attorney with The Marks Law Firm, P.A., in Orlando Florida focusing 100% on marital and family law matters. He is the only practicing family law attorney in Florida with a Master of Laws degree in Dispute Resolution from The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu California and the #1-Ranked Program in the United States. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Family Law Committee of the Orange County Bar Association.