Studies show that a divorce is often one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Its stressful due to the former spouses fighting over issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and deciding which person gets marital property. New law referred to as the Collaborative Law Process Act aims to make the divorce process less stressful by creating a legal method for couples to divorce that is more civil and less contentious.
Florida is the fifteenth state to adopt a version of The Collaborative Law Process Act. It allows the roles of the parties in a divorce to stay the same for the most part. This new law makes the process easier by allowing both parties to hire a mental health professional. The mental health professional’s job is to guide the two former spouses toward an outcome that avoids as much emotional trauma as possible.
The two parties to the divorce may also need to hire financial advisers if the divorce raises any financial issues. Most likely the two parties will retain separate financial advisers so there is no conflict of interest. The new law allows all of the people involved in the divorce to sit down and go through the important issues with the divorce. This would mean the divorce attorneys, the financial advisers, the two spouses, and the mental health profession would all sit together to try and work through any barriers to a settlement.
What is great about the new law is that those who participate in The Collaborative Law Process can stop at any time, as the process is completely voluntary. All of the issues of the divorce are explored and settled through negotiation.
However, if one party decides to stop the collaborative process, neither lawyer is allowed to represent the clients in future divorce proceedings, and the financial and mental health experts cannot be deposed or allowed to testify in the dissolution proceedings. This is actually a good aspect of the law because it means that all advisers involved in the process have a stake in reaching a resolution for the client, so it makes it more likely that both sides will reach a settlement.
The Collaborative Law Process Act has many benefits. One of its best benefits is that it makes the divorce process more respectful because both sides agree to work together from the start. The collaboration isn’t about one person winning, but rather reaching a solution where both parties can dissolve the marriage in a manner that works for both spouses.
Often, a divorce can be a messy, emotional, and long process. The Collaborative Law Process is a more efficient process because all persons involved with the divorce are working together to reach a common goal and the same objectives.
Unlike a divorce proceeding, this collaborative process is much more private. All of the issues concerning the divorce are only discussed between the financial and mental health advisers, along with the attorneys. A family’s financial and personal information is not made available to the public.
Further, the role of the attorney also changes in this process. No longer do the attorneys view their role as combatants in a court battleground, but instead their role is to help both spouses reach a satisfactory outcome. For more information on how to obtain a divorce through a mutual collaboration contact the Jacksonville family law attorneys at The Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC.
-written by Thomas Morrison, J.D.