There is a perception that many Florida divorces are acrimonious and the parties are in dispute over every issue until the court makes its decisions on property division, child support, alimony, child custody, parenting time and more. While this is true in many cases, some couples have the sufficient foundation to come to an agreement through negotiation. This is where the collaborative law process comes in. Not only can it avoid a rancorous court case, but it can allow the couple to have an agreeable relationship going forward as each side actively negotiated. Still, it is important to understand the basics about collaborative law.
Key legal factors about collaborative law
The goal of collaborative law is to encourage the sides to negotiate in good faith and prevent the need for litigation. The settlement is voluntary and the process can begin even if there is a pending legal case. People cannot be ordered to take part in collaborative law. Once the process begins, it can end in the following situations: if the case is resolved and the parties sign an agreement; it is partially resolved with other issues needing to go to litigation; or the entire process is terminated with no agreement.
The process will end if one side tells the other that the negotiations are over; if one side starts a proceeding about the issues and the other has not agreed to it; if the tribunal is asked to oversee a matter that was part of the collaborative law process; if a party asks that there be a scheduled date on the tribunal’s calendar for a collaborative law issue; if one side makes a decision that requires notice be sent to the other party regarding a pending proceeding; or a person discharges the attorney providing representation in the matter. It is imperative to remember that the collaborative law process can be terminated without cause meaning that if he or she no longer wants to take part, there is no need to give a reason.
Deciding whether collaborative law can help may require legal advice
With any family law case, it is generally beneficial to have legal assistance from the beginning. If the parties are flexible and on reasonably good terms, collaborative law can settle the case in an amicable way. The goal is to cooperate and end the marriage without the disagreements and potential for long-term damage that can accompany a court case. There are no requirements that the case must be settled when having a collaborative law negotiation. For those who believe it might be effective, consulting with a firm that understands family law and collaborative law could help.