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What is Collaborative Divorce?


Florida adopted the Collaborative Law Process Act in 2017 as an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. The collaborative divorce process focused on resolving spouses’ outstanding issues in a divorce through voluntary settlement negotiations instead of litigating their issues in a family court. Collaborative divorce has the potential to save you time, money, and significant stress during this difficult time. Call or contact the office of Blair H. Chan, III, today to learn more about your legal options for collaborative divorce in the Tampa area.

How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?

In a tradition litigated divorce, each spouse hires their own attorney to battle over various issues in family court, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support. If the spouses cannot come to a mutual agreement, a judge will listen to the arguments and render decisions on their behalf in open court, regardless of whether it fits the unique circumstances of that couple or family. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse still hires their own legal counsel, but the process is significantly different.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their attorneys meet privately outside of the courtroom to respectfully negotiate their differences and come to agreements on all matters pertaining to the divorce. Each spouse signs a participation agreement prior to the start of negotiations, where the spouses agree to willingly participate in the process. In addition, the participation agreement states that if the collaborative process falls through, the attorneys representing each spouse must also withdraw from representation. This would force the couple to completely start back at the beginning of the process with new lawyers, which creates more of an incentive to stick with the process.

Once the negotiation begins, all information and documentation from each spouse is exchanged without the need to go to court. If necessary, neutral third parties may be brought in to help facilitate negotiation on certain issues. These include financial advisors, psychologists, and certified public accountants. By approaching the divorce in an amicable and collaborative manner, instead of confrontational and litigious, spouses can focus on resolving their issues instead of attacking one another. This can be particularly beneficial when minor children are involved in the divorce, and the spouses will continue to communicate regularly about their child’s care.

After all outstanding issues have been negotiated between the spouses and a settlement is reached, the attorneys for both spouses will craft a final divorce agreement and present it to the court. Once the judge signs off on the agreement, the divorce is finalized and each spouse can move on with their life. Research is finding that couples who participate in collaborative divorce expedite the process at less cost and less stress than traditional divorce litigation in Florida.

Call or Contact The Office Today

To learn more about the collaborative divorce process and whether this alternative dispute resolution method is appropriate for your divorce, call or contact a Tampa collaborative divorce lawyer at the office of Blair H. Chan, III, today to schedule an initial consultation of your case.



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