Often, I meet individuals who are more anxious about the prospect of litigation than they are about the ultimate dissolution of their marriage. This is likely a result of the public’s general perception that divorce proceedings are and always will be adversarial in nature. However, the State of Florida has experienced a paradigm shift. One in which families can address and resolve their divorce (or other family-related matters, such as child support, timesharing modifications, and Paternity actions), in a team setting that assembles for the sole purpose and goal of helping individuals separate without tearing their families apart.
This paradigm shift is called the Collaborative Process. Contemplating divorce is very time-consuming and mentally taxing. The saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”, however, the same is untrue for individuals contemplating ending their marriage. The mental gymnastics required when considering all aspects and potential consequences of a divorce are physically and emotionally draining for anyone. This is especially true in cases involving children.
Now, imagine that after careful deliberation, you make the difficult decision that divorce is the right choice for you and your family. However, with that choice, you are faced with the possibility that initiating a divorce will equate to “going to war” with your spouse or each spouse’s attorney going to war on their client’s behalf. This fear is often crippling and results in spouses delaying a divorce proceeding, even though all circumstances point to the divorce being necessary for the wellbeing of everyone involved, including children.
Whether spouses decide to forgo a divorce should be based on the potential for reconciliation not because of a fear of the legal process embarked on when dissolving a marriage. Although adversarial litigation is a real possibility for some families, it does not have to be the reality for all families. The Collaborative Process affords families the opportunity to choose a more holistic approach to resolving their case. One that not only provides families with more control over every aspect of their case but also affords families peace of mind. The Collaborative Process is a non-adversarial alternative to obtaining a divorce, child support and timesharing modifications or establishments of paternity. It provides a team setting made up of professionals, including a mental health professional, a financial neutral as well as the attorney for each party.
Rather than appear at hearings before a Judge, families take part in team meetings that create an effective environment conducive to resolving cases efficiently and at a lesser cost than traditional litigation. The Collaborative Law Process Act and Rules is Florida Law, which has officially gone into effect back on July 1, 2017.
The attorneys at Evan H. Baron & Associates are collaboratively trained and able to assist anyone interested in this option. If you or anyone you know is interested in the Collaborative Process and would like more information on how to get started, please contact our office.