Spouses who want to end their marriage in Florida will now find that the state is taking a new approach to the legal aspects of divorce. With the passage of the Collaborative Law Process Act, spouses will now be required to go through a collaborative process in the early stages of a divorce, rather than taking the matter directly to court. That could change the way that divorce is perceived in the state, and could have a ripple effect on other states considering similar legislation.
Under the new rules, couples are expected to work out as many of their differences as possible outside of court. They are tasked with discussing child custody, property division, child support and other relevant issues through their attorneys. By taking this approach, it is hoped that couples who cannot reach a full divorce settlement on their own will at least head to court with a shorter list of matters to be adjudicated.
Supporters of the new law believe that encouraging couples to take a collaborative approach will lead to less contentious cases. That means an easier time for not only the parties themselves, but also for the children who are caught in the middle of a divorce. They also hope to relieve some of the pressure that courts face when dockets are clogged with divorce cases that might be better resolved across a bargaining table than in front of a judge.
Of course, Florida couples who are unable to reach an agreement on their own will still have access to a court if need be. However, moving toward a collaborative law approach could help change the face of divorce in Florida for the better. When individuals are able to work through their differences outside of a courtroom, the stage is set for a more productive and enjoyable co-parenting relationship, which is a better outcome for children.
Source: legalscoops.com, "Will New Florida Law Usher in Kinder, Gentler Divorces?", Jacob Maslow, July 3, 2017