Collaborative law can offer a path to better co-parenting

Many people seek a collaborative divorce in an effort to reduce the time, expense and stress associated with ending a marriage. Collaborative law has another benefit to Florida spouses who share children. The process of negotiating the terms of a divorce through collaboration offers a training ground for spouses who will transition into co-parenting roles.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is the role that each party plays in the life of each shared child. Respecting and supporting the relationship that one’s soon-to-be ex has with each child is critical to remaining focused on the best interests of the children. When parents start off from a position of mutual respect, co-parenting tends to go much smoother than when a divorce centers on anger and bitterness.

For many spouses, it helps to reframe the way that each party sees the other. Instead of being husband and wife, parents are now more like business partners. They share an interest in raising a child who is healthy and well-adjusted. To that end, they must be willing to work together, compromise and find creative solutions to problems as they arise.

Collaborative law offers training in all of these approaches and so much more. For Florida spouses who are able and willing to try a unique approach, a collaborative divorce can be a great way to transition from a romantic partnership into a co-parenting one. At the end of the day, most parents agree that the health and well-being of their shared children is of the utmost importance, and collaborative law helps keep the focus on that shared goal.

Source: goodmenproject.com, “Putting Together a Co-Parenting Plan“, Armin Brott, Jan. 23, 2018

What factors can make it easier to get an uncontested divorce?

There is hardly any divorce that does not have difficult emotions attached. After all, if you and your spouse got along all the time, you probably would not be seeking a divorce. Whether you both are divorcing on friendly terms or there is a sense of bitterness and contention, there are usually at least a couple of items of dispute at the end of a marriage. Even so, it could be beneficial for you and other Florida residents to consider an amicable divorce.

The main types of uncontested divorce – mediation and collaborative law – have numerous advantages over litigation. They may cost significantly less than going to court, as well as take much less time to resolve disagreements. Uncontested divorce is private, whereas the issues you bring up in court will become a matter of public record. A mediated or collaborative divorce is usually less stressful for all parties, especially children. The negotiation and communication skills you learn during the collaborative or mediation process may benefit you for the rest of your life.

How do you know if you and your spouse can get through an uncontested divorce when you are both barely able to stand each other? The following points may help you decide if either of these methods might work for you:

  • You both can temporarily forget your differences while meeting to discuss your issues.
  • You can speak to each other calmly and respectfully.
  • Both of you are able to empathize with each other and keep an open mind to different or creative solutions.
  • You are willing to compromise for the sake of your children or each other’s well-being.

If you both can commit to work together to resolve your disputes, you may feel a sense of peace and relief, rather than stress and anger, when your divorce is over with. Since each situation is different, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel about choosing the right method for you.

Tips for moving through the collaborative law process

For many Florida spouses, the idea of a collaborative divorce is appealing. Some spouses wish to limit their legal fees, while others are hoping to foster a sense of collaboration that will extend into the co-parenting relationship. Regardless of one’s reason for attempting a collaborative law approach, it’s important to go into that process fully prepared. The following tips can help Florida spouses make the most of collaboration.

One of the most important things that parents can do to minimize the impact of divorce on their children is to place the emotional and physical needs of the kids at the forefront of the divorce process. Regardless of how spouses may feel about one another, they share a deep love for their children. Centering divorce on that shared priority can help keep things on track and reduce contention.

Maintaining open lines of communication is also important. Many spouses want to put as much distance as possible between themselves and their soon-to-be ex. However, for those who share children, communication is and will remain essential. Some parents are more comfortable using email or text messaging, at least in the initial stages of divorce.

Clarity is also important. Both sides should fully understand what it is they want from the divorce process and where their priorities lie. That allows for clear and open communication and improves the chances that one’s spouse will be able to understand why certain issues are more important than others. Being realistic throughout the process is also a great way to achieve a favorable outcome without high levels of contention.

For many Florida spouses, collaborative law offers an excellent path toward an amicable divorce. For those who share children, it’s important to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship. In many ways, divorce itself offers a training ground for navigating the co-parenting process. For those who are willing to put in the effort and come to the table prepared, collaboration can be a rewarding experience.

Source: itv.com, “Tonight: A family lawyer’s top tips for a good divorce“, Jan. 11, 2018

Should victim pay for abuser’s property division attorney?

The law is sometimes a curious thing, in Florida and elsewhere. Laws are often created to address one problem, yet they end up creating other problems. An example is found in a case in another state in which a woman is being forced to pay for an attorney to represent her husband in their divorce. She will have to make payments to the legal counsel who will represent the opposing party in matters related to property division and spousal support. 

The state has a law in place that requires the court to appoint an attorney for an inmate facing a divorce. The cost of the state-appointed attorney must be covered by the inmate’s spouse. While the court can determine the costs and limit the expense, many spouses are simply unable to come up with the money needed to pay for both their own and their spouse’s legal counsel. 

In this case, the husband is serving a prison sentence for violently attacking the wife. She was knocked unconscious and choked during that attack, and her husband also fired a gun at her. When she tried to file for divorce, she was advised that she would be required to cover the cost of his legal counsel. 

Her case prompted a senator in her state to file a simple bill intended to end the practice of forcing a victim of domestic violence to pay for legal services — including property division negotiations — for his or her abuser. The bill is co-sponsored by five other senators and has widespread support. If it passes, the state would be required to cover the legal fees for the inmate, although these cases are so rare that it is not expected to cost taxpayers a significant amount. For readers in Florida, that outcome may seem completely reasonable. 

Source: courier-journal.com, “Wife stuck paying for abusive husband’s divorce lawyer because he’s in jail – and it’s Kentucky law“, Deborah Yetter, Jan. 9, 2018

Can tech surveillance help in high asset divorce?

Many Florida spouses are aware that there are numerous technological tools that can be used to gather information on another person. Faced with a high asset divorce, it can be tempting to leverage those tools to gather information about the activities of one’s soon-to-be ex. It’s important to work closely with an attorney before attempting any type of tech surveillance, as some efforts could be in violation of the law. 

For example, it’s possible to buy small GPS devices that can be hidden in the wheel well of a vehicle. Those devices transmit the location of the driver, creating a literal map of that person’s travels. Cell phones can be outfitted with tracking apps to deliver nearly real-time updates on the owner’s whereabouts. There are even spyware programs that can track each keystroke and screen view on a computer. 

There’s no denying that these tools can yield a great deal of information. However, many of them also cross the line into a legal gray area. Certain activities could be interpreted as wiretapping or intercepting electronic communications. 

Information gained through illegal measures cannot be used in court, so these efforts are not likely to assist in a high asset divorce. Even more importantly, if a Florida spouse breaks the law by making use of these types of tech tools, criminal charges can result. That does nothing to improve one’s position in court and can actually be used to make an individual appear to lack credibility, which is worth more than gold in a court of law. 

Source: npr.org, “I Know Where You’ve Been: Digital Spying And Divorce In The Smartphone Age“, Aarti Shahani, Jan. 4, 2018