Individual Solutions for your Family813.223.7739

Collaborative Divorce in Tampa — A Less-Adversarial Approach to Divorce

collaborative divorce

When people think of divorce, they often picture courtroom battles over who gets what. Thankfully, there’s a better way to end a union that no longer works.

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative divorce is an alternative to the traditional litigated divorce. While both types of divorce rely on the use of knowledgeable attorneys and other professionals, collaborative divorce participants aim to keep the parties out of the courtroom and to help both parties come to an agreement.

While Florida has some great judges sitting on the bench, most divorcing couples agree that they’d rather sort through their issues themselves rather than have them decided for them. Collaborative divorce allows divorcees to do just that by providing them with the tools they need to do so.

In a collaborative divorce, both individuals are represented by their own attorneys. These lawyers should be trained in the collaborative method and generally sign an agreement stating they cannot represent you if the divorce moves to litigation. By doing this, they fully commit to assisting you through the collaborative process.

In addition to the two attorneys, collaborative teams usually include a mediator or divorce coach to assist with the process, a financial neutral to help divide property and assist with financial planning, and, if necessary, a child specialist to help determine the best interests of the children. Other specialists like a vocational coach may also be added to the team if the team members believe it will be beneficial to their clients or their client’s children. The makeup of the team will depend on the needs of the parties going through the divorce. The collaborative process recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” solution for ending a marriage and strives to ensure that the process supports each party in the ways they need.

Participants in a collaborative divorce may meet with the different neutrals to help provide information and will also meet as a team to discuss issues and find solutions that work for everyone. These meetings allow participants to work through what is important to them and to determine what their various agreements will be, from parenting plans to how to deal with the marital home.

While a collaborative divorce aims to keep everyone out of the courtroom, it isn’t easy. All participants must work towards crafting agreements that are in everyone’s best interests. While this is certainly better than having someone else determine how much alimony one party will receive or when the kids will be with which parent, it requires a commitment to working together and keeping everyone’s interests front and center—especially the children’s.

To do this, parties must agree to be transparent and provide all the necessary information so the team members can make the best recommendations possible. Collaborative divorce allows for more creative agreements than those traditionally imposed by the court, but it requires the transparency and honest of all team members for it to work. The collaborative process truly takes into consideration the people (and family) in the process and helps transition them through the divorce and into their new relationship as either former partners or co-parents. It strives to provide support in a time when people are facing the dissolution of one of their most important relationships so that participants can prepare for life post-divorce.

The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

You’ve likely seen friends, or even your parents, go through a divorce. It can be an emotional process and can sometimes cause more harm than good. Collaborative divorce recognizes that divorce can be a time of growth and that how one divorces can impact the rest of their lives.

Collaborative divorce allows for:

  • Better communication
  • More honesty
  • Less combativeness
  • Custom solutions
  • Learning and acceptance

Collaborative divorce, even with its team of professionals, often costs less than a traditional litigated divorce. While it may seem like it will cost more because of the number of people, those very same professionals actually help bring the cost down. For example, having a financial neutral work with both parties to determine what the finances are and assist with business and home valuation or equitable distribution is less expensive than have two opposing financial specialists doing the same work or have an attorney who doesn’t special in financial agreements (but who bills at a higher hourly rate) doing the work. Similarly, using a neutral who is not only trained in his field of expertise but also in the collaborative method can help parties come up with the custom solutions that will best support both parties.

Collaborative divorce can also be completed more quickly or more slowly than a traditional divorce depending on the needs of the participants. Thanks to the transparency everyone agrees to bring to the table, there is not as much back and forth as in litigated divorces. Everyone is committed to a win-win solution.

The ultimate goal of a collaborative divorce is for both parties to leave the partnership with the support they need to move forward with their lives. Co-parents should feel empowered to transition and that their best interests were kept in mind throughout the process. They should have the tools they need to proceed in their new role as well as any financial support to begin the new phase of their life.

Consult With a Collaborative Lawyer Today!

Partnering with a skilled collaborative lawyer that you have a rapport with is essential for the collaborative divorce process. A good lawyer will not only help you understand the benefits of collaborative divorce but will also help you determine whether or not collaborative divorce is appropriate for your situation. They will provide you with information about the various types of divorce so you can make the most informed choice.

You don’t have to go down the litigation route. Before uttering “I’ll see you in court”, speak to a lawyer and learn about your options. If you are interested in learning more about collaborative divorce, give us a call today to schedule a consult.