Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law HB 967 also known as the “Collaborative Law Process Act”. The new law officially recognizes the collaborative procedure, such as collaborative divorce, as an alternative method of resolving disputes between former spouses, instead of traditional litigation.
This process is based on the principle that the spouses are in the best position to resolve their disputes and reach a mutually acceptable outcome on their own, without a judge making a determination through a court order.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
As a non-adversarial process, collaborative divorce minimizes the emotional and financial impact that couples ordinarily experience in litigation. Instead of implementing strategies to gain advantage one over the other, parties work out their differences together and enter into a settlement out of court.
The costs of litigation may be reduced in a collaborative process because parties engage only one financial professional to sort their financial issues and guide them through an amicable and mutually acceptable outcome.
What Happens in Collaborative Divorce?
1. Each party retains their own collaborative divorce attorney. The divorcing spouses also sign a collaborative participation agreement which provides that the attorneys can only be used to reach an out-of-court settlement and not for divorce court battles.
2. The parties also retain other professionals such as a neutral mental health professional and a certified public accountant. The mental health practitioner can help the parties deal with the emotional aspects of the divorce as well as guide parents in decisions affecting any children of the marriage. The financial professional is also useful in resolving the parties’ financial issues such as:
- Asset valuation
- Valuation of the business
- Division of assets and liabilities
- Child support
3. The parties meet to identify and discuss issues with the help of the professionals.
A key feature introduced by the new collaborative divorce law is the confidentiality that attaches to any communication that transpires during the collaborative process, shielding business records and other important data from disclosure during a contested litigation.
If you are contemplating dissolution of your marriage, a collaborative divorce may be suitable for your family and your business. Talk to an experienced collaborative divorce attorney about your situation.
In Florida, the Anton Family Law Group has over 30 years of family law experience and is well versed in various modes of alternative dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce.
We invite you to call us today at (813) 443-5249 to schedule a no-obligation initial case analysis and to learn more how we can help.