This article explains the process and particulars of a “Florida Collaborative Divorce.”
Florida Divorce Mediation is similar, but not the same, as a process called “Collaborative Law” or “Collaborative Divorce.” In a nutshell, Florida Collaborative Divorce involves a process where each party hires an attorney to help them negotiate a settlement, usually before any lawsuit is filed, with the understanding that each person will need to get a new attorney if the negotiations fail and litigation is necessary. Further, usually an accountant and mental health professional will be jointly hired to work with both spouses and their lawyer as part of the process.
Florida Collaborative Divorce can be effective, but my personal belief is that it usually is appropriate only when each side has equal access to information, nobody is concerned about the amount of time needed to resolve the divorce, and the marital finances will not be significantly depleted through extended negotiations.
My belief is that most of the families that meet these rare criteria are also prime candidates for resolving their quickly through an early Divorce Mediation, which still allows for an amicable and dignified divorce while allowing each spouse to (1) obtain a court hearing or trial much quicker if negotiations fail while (2) avoiding the Collaborative Divorce requirement of each spouse having to “start all over again” with a new lawyer if the case cannot be settled.
Further, in many instances, starting with a Florida Collaborative Divorce has the potential to blow most basics of divorce leverage and strategy and is contrary to a resolution-focused litigation strategy.
I believe most of the spouses who push for Collaborative Divorce are either (1) doing so with the ulterior motive of keeping their spouse from digging deeper into their finances or (2) are uneducated as to the benefits and likelihood of success of settling a case through mediation.
I believe many nefarious spouses propose Collaborative Divorce to manufacture a situation where their spouse feels compelled to settle based on a lack of information, due to the “sunk costs” of paying the Florida Collaborative Divorce lawyer, and the knowledge that they will have to pay even more money to educate a new lawyer and wait potentially a year or more to get a trial date if negotiations fail. My philosophy is: Why take on these risks when you can settle your case quickly and amicably through a traditional divorce mediation?
If what you desire is some sort of romantic/eclectic negotiating experience with your spouse outside of litigation, I think you should skip the Florida Collaborative Divorce process and go to marriage counseling instead. You will still get to attend regular sit-down sessions with your spouse to negotiate terms related to your marriage, except you don’t have to pay any lawyers. The entire process can be covered by insurance, and you don’t have to get divorced!
Okay, I might be biased against Florida Collaborative Divorce, and think it is a waste of time and money and is nothing more than a marketing scheme designed by the accountants, financial planners, and mental health professionals who are involved in the “collaborative” process to manufacture demand for their services, but… the process is one of the available options to utilize in your divorce and information is readily available about it online, so if you are interested, type “Florida Collaborative Divorce” into your favorite search engine and you will be able to learn more about the process, which you can then discuss with the lawyers you interview.