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Collaborative Law: An Alternative To Traditional Divorce Litigation

what-is-collaborative-law

Last summer, the Collaborative Law Process Act (CLPA) went into effect in our state, which provides a different and refreshing approach to resolving disputes in family law.  My excitement about this new approach has caused me to dedicate my inaugural blog to this topic.  In collaborative law, each party retains a lawyer specially trained in this unique process.  Both parties and their attorneys agree to participate in negotiation sessions that occur outside of court in structured and efficient meetings.  The goal of collaborative practice is to produce solutions that meet the needs of all parties.  A Participation Agreement is signed by all the parties and includes a commitment not to use court proceedings.  The parties voluntarily exchange documents and information without going to court.  These documents are usually far less voluminous then the financial documents/discovery that are required to be exchanged in traditional family law proceedings.  A neutral facilitator helps the parties stay focused on the issues and to communicate in a respectful manner.  Sometimes, mental health professionals or neutral financial professionals (such as CPA’s or financial planners) are called upon to assist parties in helping discuss and resolve important issues.  If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorneys agree in the Participation Agreement that they will not litigate on behalf of their respective clients, and they must withdraw from further representation of their clients.

There are numerous advantages to choosing collaborative law in resolving your divorce.  The collaborative law process is less costly and resolutions are reached quicker than in traditional litigation cases.  The parties retain control over the pace and outcome.  The negotiation sessions are very respectful with the goal of preserving family relationships, not destroying them.  There is reduced stress for the parties and the opportunity exists to find creative solutions rather than being confined by the restraints of litigation.  For more information about collaborative law, please visit www.collaborativepracticeflorida.com.

As I conclude my first blog article, I share with you one of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln:

“Discourage litigation.  Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.  Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser in fees, expenses and waste of time.  As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.”

Patricia Sciarrino, Esquire is trained in collaborative law.  To learn if collaborative law might be the right choice for you in your family dispute, please contact the law office of Patricia Sciarrino, P.A. at (772) 463-8017 to schedule your initial consultation.

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