Divorcing couples in Florida rarely see eye to eye, which can make negotiating thorny matters like spousal support and property division extremely challenging. When they cannot reach an agreement at the negotiating table, they rarely see taking their cases to court as an attractive option. A judge’s ruling may put an end to the matter, but court battles cost a lot of money and take place in a venue open to the public. Mediation and collaborative divorce offer couples other options, and they are sometimes able to produce breakthroughs in situations where litigation seems inevitable.
Collaborative law is able to do this because it is not an adversarial process. During divorce legal proceedings, both parties generally hold firm to their positions while undermining the arguments made by the other side. On the contrary, during collaborative law sessions, they are encouraged to find common ground and work together toward a solution that they can both live with. Before the sessions begin, both parties agree to see the process through to the end.
Divorcing spouses and their lawyers are present during collaborative divorce sessions, and they work together without the assistance of a third party like a mediator. Before they take a collaborative case on, family law attorneys must agree not to participate in any litigation that may ensue if the sessions are unsuccessful. This eliminates a conflict of interest for collaborative law attorneys, and it is one of the major reasons why the process works so well. Since the collaborative approach was introduced in 1990, it has helped to resolve more than 50,000 divorce disputes.
When a divorcing couple takes their case to court, one or both of them will be unhappy with the outcome. When they work together to solve their problems, the solutions they find will generally be far more agreeable than a ruling handed down by a judge. Divorce is the end of one part of a life’s journey and the beginning of another. Collaborative divorce gets this next step off to a positive and productive start.