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Orlando Collaborative Divorce Attorney
A collaborative divorce is a new way of going through the divorce process. It takes the family’s personal, emotional and financial business out of the hands of a judge or a mediator and allows the participants to address their unique situation in a way that gives them the most control over the outcome.
Typically, a collaborative divorce involves a team of professionals to help a couple through the financial, emotional and legal issues of a divorce or separation. The collaborative process can be used by anyone involved in a domestic relationship or by anyone who needs to modify domestic agreements.
The team of professionals involved in the collaborative process usually includes a neutral mental health professional, a financial person and two attorneys, one for each of the parties. The neutral mental health professional does not act as a therapist for either party, but rather acts to facilitate a productive discussion between the parties and the team to help resolve the issues faced by the parties.
The financial professional helps the parties evaluate the best way to equitably distribute the assets and debts of the marriage or relationship. A financial professional can help the parties address tax issues to minimize the overall tax costs of the divorce. Some financial professionals also are qualified to value family owned businesses. Together with the other team members, the difficulties involved in family owned businesses can be addressed to minimize conflict and business losses.
Each party also has an attorney. The usual practice in Florida is for the attorneys to agree that neither will continue to represent a client if the collaborative process is unsuccessful. This aligns the client’s interest with the attorney’s interests. All become vested in doing everything possible to contribute to the success of the collaborative process. If the process is not successful, neither attorney can represent the client in litigation. This incentive encourages the attorneys to work together for the benefit of the process and the family.
The collaborative process is a much less adversarial process. For lawyers who are used to addressing family law issues using the court system, the collaborative process requires a change in focus. It requires a less contentious and more cooperative approach to family law issues.
The collaborative divorce process is an active process. If it is successful, the parties become vested in the process and are less likely to want to litigate if circumstances change in the future. The relationship between the parties becomes easier and less stressful because they actively participated in formulating a solution to their particular family issues. Statistics show that in the long run, parties involved in a successful collaborative divorce process spend less money than those who approach divorce in a more traditional manner. This is because the solutions reached through the collaborative process are generally more stable and longer lasting than those derived through traditional divorce methods.
Sherri DeWitt is trained in the collaborative process and is a member the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida. If you are interested in proceeding with the collaborative divorce process in Orlando, please contact our office for more information.