Can I Implement a Collaborative Divorce Method?

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The idea of Collaborative Law is a relatively new process in Florida Divorce Proceedings, only having become recognized by law in 2017. However, the overall purpose of implementing collaborative law is to encourage couples to work together to come to an agreeable and peaceful resolution outside the highly contentious litigation involved in a court room. There are many rules and procedures involved in collaborative law proceedings, therefore, if you desire an alternative approach such as this, discuss the collaborative approach option with your Orlando Divorce Attorney.

The Collaborative Rule of Procedure 12.745 is one of the first steps you would need to take in a collaborative proceeding. This rule requires a collaborative law participation agreement be signed between the parties. This agreement must discuss the intent of the parties to engage in the collaborative method; the specific issues they wish to resolve using this method; the names of the lawyers involved; promise to engage in disclosures; acknowledgment of the parties’ voluntary engagement in this method; the methods and times in which termination of the collaborative approach will occur; and the understanding of the parties that the lawyers employed to represent them in the collaborative law approach may not represent them in any other court proceedings related to this matter. After this agreement is signed, you may proceed with the collaborative process.

You can choose at any time to engage in this collaborative approach. For instance, you may decide at the outset of your case, prior to filing, to utilize the collaborative method, or you may request a stay in your ongoing proceeding to attempt collaborative process. If you choose to change your approach during an open court case, you are required to notify the court and file a motion for a stay of the proceedings. After receiving notice, the court may require periodic status reports of the collaborative methods and their success or progress. During these periodic reports, the parties may present the court with partial agreements made on specific issues, to be ratified by the court.

However, it is important to note that the collaborative law approach may not be for every couple. Within statute, the lawyers representing clients in a collaborative process must initially screen their clients and periodically inquire throughout the process for history of domestic violence, abuse, or coercive behavior whether their client be a victim or an abuser. If an attorney believes such behavior exists between the parties they must decline or terminate the attorney-client relationship. However, upon discussing the termination, a party may waive this automatic termination if requested and the lawyer believes that the client will be proceed from the abuse, violence, or coercive. However, the attorney may bring this behavior to the attention of the collaborative professionals employed in the case to further ensure the safety of the client and address this behavior in settlement agreements to ensure future protection as well.

Collaborative law is not meant for every couple. Those who have a history of violence, or are not willing to negotiate, or directly address the other party are unlikely to succeed in collaborative methods. However, if you are wishing to receive more information or are considering this process in your own divorce proceedings, speak with an Orlando Divorce Attorney today.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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