Collaborative Family Law –
The Private Alternative to Public Courtroom Divorce
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law is a process whereby parties and their respective attorneys work together with the sole goal of reaching an efficient, fair, comprehensive settlement of all issues. The Team assists and supports the parties as problemsolvers, not as adversaries.
All agreements are reached in Settlement conferences. Trials and hearings are eliminated, as Settlement is the only agenda.
The Three Key Elements:
- A voluntary and open exchange of information between the participants.
- A pledge by the Team to reach an out-of-court settlement and not to litigate. If the Team is unsuccessful in resolving the issues, all members of the Team are discharged.
- A commitment to respect the parties’ individual and shared goals.
What is the Collaborative Process?
The Collaborative Process uses informal discussions and conferences attended by both parties and their attorneys in an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity, transparency, and professionalism.
It requires that both parties, with the assistance of their attorneys, provide all pertinent documents and information relating to the issues to be settled, and that they work together toward a shared resolution.
Decision-making meetings of all members of the Team are scheduled with agendas in place and agreed agendas are followed.
Who is on the Team?
The Collaborative Team is a combination of specifically trained individuals with whom the parties work to resolve their disputes. In addition to the respective attorneys who will provide advocacy for their clients, the Team includes a neutral financial expert and a neutral mental health professional.
The financial professional will assist in gathering and analyzing the necessary financial data to educate the parties about their particular financial situation. The financial professional may meet with each party and each attorney in preparation for group sessions.
The mental health professional will guide the process and provide direction in addressing restructuring of the family. Elements pertaining to each specific party and the parenting plan can be addressed as assigned tasks.
What are the Reasons to Consider a Collaborative Divorce?
Client Involvement: The clients are a vital part of the Team. The process shifts decision-making into their hands rather than into the hands of the judge.
Supportive Approach: Each client is supported by an attorney in a manner that allows the attorneys to work together to resolve issues.
Lower Cost: Court preparation and court time is not required. The clients together select one financial professional and one mental health professional to work in tandem with the Team throughout the process.
Speed and Efficiency: The process is governed by the parties and their selected Team rather than by the court’s calendar.
Less Stress: The fear and anxiety of court is taken out of the equation. The Team focuses on settlement without the emphasis on preparing for litigation.
Win-Win Climate: This group collective process produces a more satisfactory outcome for both parties as they actively participate in all aspects of the decision-making process.
Qualifications of the Members
Members of SCFLP have been selected because of experience, reputation, and specialized training. Each member is licensed and accredited by their designated professional organization. Each completes the training required by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the training required by the Florida Supreme Court to be a Certified Family Mediator.