Divorce does not have to be a war. In fact, many people have found that by working with their spouse to end a marriage amicably, they can save time and money while significantly cutting down on stress. In recognition of this reality, the state of Florida has recently accepted the collaborative divorce process as an official alternative to the adversarial litigation process.
The new law, HB 967, also known as the Collaborative Law Process Act, was signed by Governor Rick Scott this March. It creates an official system in Florida for the collaborative divorce process. Rules of procedure must now be created in light of the bill becoming law.
As opposed to a contested divorce, where the parties argue each aspect of their case in court, the collaborative process is based on cooperation. The parties each hire their own attorney, but the attorneys focus on helping the parties resolve problems rather than trying to “win” the case. Working together, the parties and their counsel tackle issues such as the division of property, spousal support and child support. A mental health professional also participates, remaining neutral and helping to move the process along smoothly by minimizing conflict. The parties can also share the cost of a neutral financial expert, when necessary, instead of each hiring their own.
The collaborative divorce process is entirely voluntary, and either party can pull out at any time. If the process fails for any reason, the attorneys who participated are prevented from taking part in any later litigation of the case.
If you are contemplating divorce and want to know more about alternatives to litigation, the Tampa-area collaborative divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. can help you explore your options.