Ever since July 2017, Floridians have had an additional new option for how to proceed through the often trying process of divorce. In 2016, the Florida legislature passed, and Gov. Rick Scott signed, a bill known as the Collaborative Law Process Act. Following the governor’s signing the law, the Florida Supreme Court created court rules for the implementation of the new alternative. This law, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, creates a new alternative to the adversarial process for divorcing spouses: the collaborative process. For advice about all of your divorce options and what makes the most sense for you, talk to an experienced Florida divorce attorney.
The collaborative process originally was the brainchild of a Minnesota attorney who desired to give divorcing spouses an option for resolving the issues necessary to complete a divorce in a manner that was more private and more compassionate than the traditional litigation model. Many experienced family law professionals have expressed concern that, for some couples, the litigation process, by its very nature, motivates spouses to want to “defeat” their exes. By seeking to remove that adversarial element, collaborative divorce is designed to motivate spouses to work together with each other, rather than in opposition to each other.
While the collaborative process is a form of alternative dispute resolution, it is, as one author in the Florida Bar Journal put it, “an alternative dispute resolution process unlike any other ADR process in a number of ways.” Each spouse retains his or her own legal counsel. While the law does not require retaining an attorney who is trained in collaborative divorce, having a fully collaborative process-trained attorney handle your divorce has its advantages.