WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?
The Collaborative Divorce Act was enacted by the Florida legislature on March 24, 2016, and it provides for a new way to overcome the financial and emotional hurdles that plague every divorce. Part legal advocacy, part counseling, part alternative dispute resolution, the collaborative process finds the parties pledging to cooperatively and collectively solve the issues surrounding their divorce, rather than allowing the courts to decide their fate. Through a transparent collaboration to assure the best possible outcome for each individual family, the collaborative process addresses both parenting issues as well as financial challenges such as asset distribution and support. All financial discovery is openly produced for the benefit of all to review and process. The parties commit not to file for divorce until all issues are resolved, keeping your family out of the courtroom.
HOW DOES COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE WORK?
While each party should have a collaboratively trained attorney to assist them through this process and they are encouraged to seek independent legal counsel, once counsel is identified, the parties routinely attend “team” meetings including each other, their respective legal counsel, and other “neutral” specialists who are there to help facilitate a resolution. Each collaborative case must have a mental health neutral (MHP) who helps address the emotional aspects of divorce as well as helps prepare a Parenting Plan that fits the needs of the family. Often, a financial neutral is used as well to help the family budget and find funds for support needs. Over a series of 4 or 5 meetings, because of the assistance of the mental health professional as well as attorneys trained to collaborate rather than litigate, couples committed to the process can solve their issues with much less collateral damage than traditional litigation cases. The parties, their attorneys, and their chosen professionals work together for the betterment of the family remaining after the now dissolved marriage.
IS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN TRADITIONAL LITIGATION?
The collaborative process compares in price to traditional litigation but is much less damaging to the remaining co-parenting relationship. Further, the attorneys at Sasso & Guerrero will always advocate for your interests, even in the case of collaborative divorce. While you will maintain the benefit of traditional legal counsel and the legal advocacy that relationship provides, the collaborative process is transparent, rather than tactical; open, rather than reserved; collaborative, rather than adversarial. In order to assure all parties’ commitment to the collaborative process, the attorneys will be disqualified if you abandon the collaborative process and pursue traditional litigation.
There are only so many different ways to accomplish the aims of financial disentanglement and co-parenting, and the attorneys at Sasso & Guerrero know them all. For families committed to accomplishing those goals with as little bile as possible, collaborative divorce is a fantastic option, and the attorneys at Sasso & Guerrero are specifically trained to provide you with the highest quality collaborative divorce possible.