On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
COVID-19 caused court cases to gridlock. Criminal cases took precedence over civil ones. During the pandemic, family law litigators found alternative ways to negotiate and find resolutions concerning divorce agreements. The mental health experts associated with collaborative law urged attorneys to buy into peaceful options instead of oppositional courtroom approaches.
When relationships cannot be salvaged, it is time to file for divorce, beginning the arduous process of the dissolution of marriage. The Fort Lauderdale divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A can help make the divorce process as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
When opting for a collaborative divorce, both spouses and their lawyers agree to avoid court intervention and litigation. Instead, settlement agreements are negotiated between parties and their attorneys. Everyone must sign this agreement and stick to it throughout the entire divorce process. Any attempted litigation by any party for any matter, and the lawyer in question must withdraw from the case.
Collaborative divorce utilizes non-adversarial techniques where divorcing couples, and their lawyers meet in sessions to discuss and decide on pending matters like:
Binding agreements are reached by the divorcing couple and the collaborative law teams. These teams are often comprised of professionals in related fields, including:
- Each spouse’s attorney
- A neutral financial expert
- A neutral mental health professional
- A parenting coordinator
Many professionals find the tone of collaborative law completely different than litigation, diffusing conflict and allowing collaborative law teams to identify basic interests and goals while creating a binding resolution.
The Case Against Collaborative Divorce
The consensus concerning this non-litigious method is that it is not likely to work with dysfunctional relationships like abusive situations.
Rachel Rebouché, an associate professor at the Temple University Beasley School of Law, is among several other critics of collaborative divorce, arguing it may “entrench stereotypes that were all too common…the innocent wife and guilty husband.” Instead of taking divorces case-by-case, it “reduces marriage to the gendered, heteronormative roles.” This creates the assumption of the “innocent wife” and “bad-behaving man.”
In Rebouché essay, “The Case Against Collaboration,” she discusses the potential for wealth imbalances where less prosperous spouses agree to post-divorce relationships in exchange for spousal support or the encouraging of wealthier spouses to pay more support as a penance.
Rebouché contends a number of these couples eventually make additional modifications to their settlement agreements or custody arrangements and find themselves in contentious court battles anyway.
When should I contact a lawyer?
After all the difficult conversations, it does not matter how long you have been married, realizing your marriage is no longer sustainable needs to be managed with care and compassion. The decision to end a marriage is just the beginning of a challenging process.
When the time comes, the Fort Lauderdale divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A. will walk with you, step-by-step through this entire process which may include:
- Child support
- Division of property
- Many other aspects of divorce in Florida