Orlando Collaborative Family Law and Professionalism

By Orlando Collaborative Family Law Attorney Tom Marks

I believe that the vast majority of attorneys are caring and professional in their behavior and advocacy for their clients. In our adversarial system it is only natural though that by the end of the case, at least one of the parties will feel like they lost. That is especially true in Family Law, the area I practice in.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way and that is one of the reasons I have developed a Collaborative Family Law Practice where husbands and wives agree to work together to resolve the issues without having to take the case to Court.

Not only are both parties winners in Collaborative Law, because they avoided acrimonious Litigation, but also because both parents together have focused on their kids’ best interests.

I have actually participated in Collaborative Law Cases where both parties have felt like they are not only happy with the final results but that they believe they have done everything they can mutually to protect their children and to ensure that their children thrive even after the Dissolution of Marriage. They have chosen to love their children the most and to continue to be friends in order to co-parent their children in the most healthy and productive way possible.

A Word About “Collaborative” Family Law Attorneys

Attorneys who practice Collaborative Family Law are some of the most professional, ethical and caring lawyers I have ever met. The focus is no longer on litigation and winning at no small expense, financially, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually to the clients. And in  addition to the Collaborative Family Law Attorneys, there are highly professional Neutral Collaborative Professionals like the Financial Collaborative Professional and the Mental Health Collaborative Professional. They assist the clients and attorneys in putting together Equitable Distribution Worksheets and other financial documents as well as the Parenting Plan and other important documents in the case.

I am not saying that Family Law Attorneys involved in the Litigation aspects of Family Law are not for the most part Professional. There certainly are many. But those Attorneys who have decided to focus on Collaborative Family Law, do it I believe, because they care about the process of helping clients resolve their cases in the healthiest and most productive way possible.

Reaching a Common Ground

By Family Law Attorney Tom Marks

I went this last week to visit Regent University in Virginia with my daughter and we went to an event called the “Clash of the Titans.” It was a debate from the political left and right moderated by Dana Perino, of the Fox news show called “The Five.”

The two conservatives, Newt Gingrich and Jay Sekulow debated the two liberals, David Axelrod and David Plouffe. The focus of the debate was on “Executive Powers” and involved some of the most divisive issues of our day, including Obamacare, the medical exchanges currently in disarray and the IRS targeting conservative political groups. Of course, issues like the recent partial federal government shutdown and the threat of defunding Obamacare were on the table for a potentially polarizing and out-of-control argumentative free-for-all.

However, even though the participants did not agree on many of the pressing issues facing America today, they maintained civility and respect for each other’s ideas, goals and positions. It made me think of The Marks Law Firm’s Family Law Practice and how even opposing parties in the Dissolution of Marriage Proceedings can still act civilly and seek common goals of protecting the minor children and properly co-parenting them into the future. I see those successes in my Collaborative Family Law Cases and even in the more traditional litigated Family Law Cases.

Even with gridlock in Washington DC, these politicians from opposite sides of the political spectrum could still agree to disagree in a debate on the issues and then sit down and have dinner together and try to reach common ground for the good of the country.

I believe parents should and can do the same thing even through a divorce, for the good of their minor children.


Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law


What is the Collaborative process?
It is a process in which individuals involved in a Dissolution of Marriage or other Family Law matter work with collaboratively trained professionals, including attorneys, mental health therapists, or PhD Psychologists or Therapists, and Financial Planners or CPAs as part of a team to resolve issues amicably and provide fair and agreed upon solutions without going through the Litigation process and Court. The Parties and their Attorneys agree to stay in the collaborative process without going to Court to achieve a mutually beneficial result.

The Collaborative Process considers each person’s goals and approaches these goals with an open and trustworthy process to move toward a positive outcome fulfilling the goals of each party. Utilizing neutrals like mental health therapists or PhD Psychologists, financial professionals, vocational counselors, etc., the unique team of professionals are gathered to provide families with the professional resources to meet the Parties’ goals and help families prepare for future success.

What distinguishes the Collaborative Process from other methods of resolving divorce?
Each party receives the advice & guidance of their own personal attorney through the entire process while also having a customized team of neutral professionals addressing psychological, emotional, and financial issues each family faces. The Collaborative Process promotes goal setting and problem-solving to obtain durable agreements, provide security and privacy, and less conflict during the process and in the future. Collaborative Divorce provides an opportunity to build the trust and communication skills a couple will need post-divorce, which is in the best interest of the children.

What are the key benefits of the Collaborative Process?

  • Allows a professional team to assist in working toward resolution of both parties’ goals in an non- adversarial manner.
  • Potentially less expensive and time consuming.
  • The Parties have more control over of the outcome.
  • Reduces opposition and hostility between parties.
  • Minimizes future conflict.
  • Provides new tools for valuable problem-solving that can be used in a positive way for the future parenting opportunities.
  • Takes specific goals of both parties into consideration.
  • Avoids adversarial court proceedings and Trial

Is Collaborative Practice for Everyone?
No. The Collaborative process requires a certain amount of trust and willingness to openly discuss goals and to avoid litigation. If there are serious issues which involve domestic violence, physical and mental abuse, mental illness, drug abuse, etc., then Collaborative practice may not be the best option. Speak to Attorney Tom Marks to obtain more information about what method is most suitable for your situation.

Blogs regarding the Collaborative Process in Orlando, Florida:

Litigation vs Collaborative Divorce in Orlando Florida

What is the Difference Between Collaborative and Cooperative Law?

Communicating with the Neutrals in a Collaborative Case

What to Expect in the First Collaborative Team Meeting

Collaborative Law: A Brief History and Overview

How Can Collaborative Divorce Benefit You and Your Family?

Florida Passes the Collaborative Process Act

Collaborative Law vs. Divorce Mediation in Family Law

Orlando Collaborative Family Law and Professionalism

YouTube Videos with Central Florida Collaboratively Trained Professionals:

What Financial Documents Are Produced in a Collaborative Case?

Why Do Central Florida Divorce Attorneys Advocate for Collaborative Law?

Who Is Considered an Allied Professional in the Collaborative Process?

When Is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Appropriate for Your Collaborative Case?

How Does a Mental Health Neutral Impact the Collaborative Process?