Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law on March 24, 2016, the Collaborative Divorce Act.
This Act provides a formal legal recognition for collaborative divorces in the State of Florida. Collaborative divorce is a non-adversarial process during which attorneys, a neutral financial professional, and a mental health facilitator attempt to obtain information and create options from which the parties can choose the best solution regarding the financial, property, and child issues related to their divorce. Collaborative divorce occurs in a series of private, confidential meetings which result in the signing of a marital settlement agreement. However, attorneys need training and experience in the collaborative divorce process before they can change from their adversarial training, positioning in the courtroom and problem spotting to an interspatial needs based negotiation style where the needs of the parties are examined and options are created from which the parties can choose the best results for their future and the future of their children. Consequently, attorneys who are not trained and experienced in this alternate dispute resolution method naturally and quickly revert back to their adversarial posturing, argumentative, and “I’ll see you in court” attitude. So, how does one find an attorney who would be best prepared to guide you successfully through the collaborative divorce process?
Selecting Your Collaborative Divorce Attorney
When interviewing an attorney for collaborative divorce, you should ask some of the following questions:
- How long have you been involved with divorce/family/matrimonial law? Do you specialize in family/divorces?
- How long have you been working on collaborative divorce cases and approximately how many collaborative divorce cases have you been involved with?
- What training have you received in collaborative practice/divorce?
- Beyond your initial/basic training, how many hours have you received in intermediate or advance training in collaborative divorce practice?
- How many collaborative divorce cases have you completed?
- Have you worked with my spouse’s lawyer (if known) in a collaborative divorce case previously? If so, what has been your experience with him or her?
- Are you a member of your local collaborative divorce practice group, and if so, which one?
- Are you a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)?
- Are you a member of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP)?
- What is the last book you read regarding collaborative divorce?
- What book would you recommend that I read regarding collaborative divorce?
- Have you published any blogs, white papers, books, or videos regarding collaborative divorce or collaborative practice?
- In your opinion, who are the best collaborative professionals in this area and why?
- In your opinion, what are the main reasons that some cases don’t settle through the collaborative divorce process?
- What happens when you step aside if my spouse and I should decide to litigate?
Selecting an attorney to represent you in your collaborative divorce case sometimes is may appear to be a difficult process. However, if you elect to participate in the collaborative divorce process but you do not obtain the services of an attorney who is experienced and educated in this non-adversarial alternative to litigation, then you could be doing a great disservice to yourself and to your family. Using the above questions will ensure that you find the right collaborative law attorney for you.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss child support, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.