Cooperative divorce involves a problem-solving process which allows the potential for court involvement.

The cooperative divorce model is client-centered and is one in which the clients determine their outcome through interests-based negotiations. In typical court issues and in most contract negotiations, each side forms positions from which negotiations or court claims commence. With an interests-based approach, each side does not form positions but seeks to pursue goals and outcomes which are not incompatible with the other side's goals and outcomes. No demands are made. No ultimatums are issued. Each side explores how their side and the other side can be comfortable with the outcome.

Cooperative law is practiced in various parts of the U.S. differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, including Massachusetts, Washington, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Lee County model was created and evolved in Lee County by Shelly Finman and retired Judge Hugh E. Starnes in the 1990s who trained other lawyers, judges and professionals in the family law system in other states in the Midwest over the past years.

In the particular cooperative model used in Lee County, Florida, with the Participation Agreement, the judge and magistrate assigned to any court case may opt to participate in the cooperative process to help the process move timely through the system.

This Cooperative Law Participation Agreement is used to frame parameters for the cooperative divorce model. It's a work in progress and is revised periodically to enhance the process of cooperation, change the mindset of the parties and lawyers to focus on problem solving through dialog exploring interests and developing options seeking a maximum outcome.

For More Information About Cooperative Divorce

To talk to an attorney about cooperative divorce, call us at 239-215-4952 or complete our contact form to schedule an initial consultation. Our law office is in Fort Myers and we represent clients throughout southwest Florida, including Cape Coral.