A Follow-up on Collaborative Divorce

In our last blog post, we discussed five key points about collaborative divorce. Some other questions that surfaced about the collaborative law process include the following:

  1. What is a collaborative attorney? The Florida statute (the Collaborative Law Process Act) simply defines a collaborative attorney as an attorney who represents a party in a collaborative law process. 
  2. Will all family law attorneys represent parties through the collaborative law process? No. From a practical standpoint, attorneys generally fall into one of three categories regarding the collaborative law process. First, there are attorneys who choose not to represent parties through the collaborative law process and will refer those parties to a collaborative attorney. Second, there are attorneys who choose to only represent parties through the collaborative law process or, perhaps, another process for alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, and will refer parties requiring litigation to other attorneys. And, third, there are attorneys who choose to represent parties through whatever process is appropriate for a particular party or case whether that process be litigation, collaborative, mediation or appellate.  
  3. Is there training for collaborative attorneys? Yes. There are introductory, refresher and advanced training programs available for attorneys to receive excellent training on how best to represent parties through the collaborative law process. For any attorney who wishes to be a collaborative attorney, we highly recommend that he or she become collaboratively trained through one of these available training programs. 
  4. What duties do attorneys have regarding the collaborative law process? We believe that attorneys should inform prospective clients about the various processes available for resolving his or her family law matter including the litigation process, mediation, the collaborative law process and informal settlement discussions. This way, each client may make an informed decision about which process may be best suited for the resolution of his or her particular and unique family law matter. And, if a party chooses to proceed through the collaborative law process, the Florida Rules of Professional Responsibilities require that the attorney “obtain the informed consent of the client before proceeding in the collaborative law process after providing the client with sufficient information about the collaborative law process” including without limitation the following specified information: 
    • the material benefits and risks of using the collaborative law process to resolve a family law matter;
    • the nature and scope of the matter to be resolved through the collaborative law process;
    • alternatives to the collaborative law process;
    • that participation in the collaborative law process is voluntary and any client may unilaterally terminate the collaborative law process for any reason;
    • that the collaborative law process will terminate if any participating client initiates a proceeding or seeks court intervention in a pending proceeding related to the collaborative law matter after the clients have signed the collaborative law agreement;
    • limitations on the lawyer’s participation in subsequent proceedings imposed by family law court rules on the collaborative law process; and,
    • fees and costs the client can reasonably expect to incur in the collaborative law process, including the fees of the lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals.

Consult With An Orlando Collaborative Divorce Lawyer About Your Options

If you’re considering filing for divorce — or are currently involved in a divorce, support, custody, property division or paternity dispute — and believe that collaborative divorce may offer a positive resolution to your situation, you should contact an attorney with collaborative family law experience. One of our experienced Orlando divorce lawyers will be able to explore all of your options with you and advocate on your behalf.