If you and your spouse decide to end your marriage, the next step is how to go about the divorce.
In the state of Florida, couples can now choose the collaborative process as an alternative to the traditional divorce in court.
A little background
The Collaborative Law Process Act (CLPA) went into effect in 2017. As a result, Florida couples who are facing divorce can choose to engage in negotiations outside of court rather than participate in litigation. If you and your soon-to-be-ex opt for the collaborative process, you can control the pace as you work toward a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to you both.
How it works
The parties choose their respective attorneys who are specially trained in divorce collaboration. The parties meet jointly with their attorneys to negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement. The couple can also request that other professionals be brought in such as an accountant, a financial adviser or a child custody expert to assist with resolving any questions or issues that arise.
Couples who choose collaboration appreciate the privacy this option affords. Unlike a court proceeding in which divorce matters become public record, information shared in the collaborative process remains confidential. Since it is usually of shorter duration, collaboration is often less expensive than litigation. It is also a more respectful process that preserves family relationships and protects the best interests of the children of the marriage.
If the couple cannot reach agreement on all issues, the collaborative process ends. The parties must release their attorneys and go to court with new attorneys. However, if collaboration is successful, the attorneys will present the settlement agreement for the approval of a judge, who will incorporate it into a divorce decree.