Tampa Collaborative Divorce Lawyer | Collaborative Law | Tampa Divorce Attorney
What is collaborative law?
Collaborative law or collaborative divorce (also called “no-court divorce,” “divorce with dignity,” “peaceful divorce”) is an innovative alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process to resolve issues in your divorce in a less expensive, less emotionally destructive, and more dignified way.
The way you divorce can make an already tense, stressful, and emotional time better, or much worse. A family law divorce lawyer named Stu Webb developed collaborative law in 1990 when he decided he would no longer go to family court and litigate divorces, but instead would only represent a divorcing client in settlement negotiations. He wanted to help spouses preserve their family by avoiding the hostility and destruction of litigated divorce.
Litigation in a "win at all cost" legal system pits lawyer against lawyer, husband against wife. For those reasons, litigation is usually the most expensive way to divorce, takes the longest, and has the greatest potential for affecting the spouses' ability to have an amicable post-divorce relationship with each other, their children, or their former in-laws.
Stu Webb's collaborative law revolutionized dissolution of marriage. It has enabled spouses to keep control of the outcome and the costs, and to make informed decisions that protect their children, maintain family ties, and preserve their emotional and financial integrity.
What is the difference between collaborative law and collaborative divorce?
Collaborative law describes the legal process that collaborative lawyers and parties can use to resolve any legal dispute. Collaborative law is most commonly used in family law but it also is effective in non-family civil collaborative cases involving medical malpractice; construction defects; employment matters; probate disputes; will contests; guardianships; and business disputes of all kinds. Collaborative divorce is simply the use of this type of law to resolve a divorce and it is highly effective.
Why do you need an experienced Tampa collaborative divorce lawyer?
Not all Tampa divorce lawyers are trained in collaborative law. If you want to try collaborative law for your divorce, or post-divorce modifications, then you will need to find a knowledgeable, compassionate, and experienced Tampa collaborative lawyer to assist you. Every couple has their own dynamic and set of problems unique to their relationship and personalities. A trained Tampa collaborative lawyer can help you resolve the particular issues you and your spouse or partner have before, during, or after divorce.
How does collaborative law work?
The Participation Agreement
In collaborative law, parties and their attorneys make certain written agreements in a contract called a “Participation Agreement”. Participation Agreements usually have these provisions:
- A pledge not to go to court
- Voluntary exchange of relevant information
- Use of neutral professionals
- Mutual development of options for settlement
- Use of interest based negotiation
- Withdrawal of collaborative counsel if parties cannot settle
A Pledge Not To Go To Court
The purpose of the pledge is to assure each other that they will not use a threat of going to trial as a tactic to coerce the other into concessions or decisions he or she would not otherwise be willing to make.
Open and Voluntary Exchange of Information
Spouses avoid the cost and delay of discovery (how lawyers in litigation build their case through depositions, and written requests for information and documents) by agreeing to disclose and exchange information that is required to make reasonable and fair decisions.
The Collaborative Professionals' Team
Collaborative law offers you the advantage of having a team of divorce professionals including child, parenting, and financial specialists, as well as a divorce coach and other professionals. The whole team works together with you to streamline the negotiations so that they are cost-effective, fast, and result in agreements that last.
Mutual Development of Options in "Four Way" Meetings
One of the hallmarks of collaborative law is that the spouses themselves find and work through options to settle the issues they have between them with the help of their lawyers and their team of professionals. To do this, Tampa collaborative lawyers meet with their clients and their professional team in a series of short settlement conferences called “four ways”. The meetings are private and confidential and conveniently scheduled on your time, not a judge's. Everyone from the very beginning strives to improve communication, and reduce conflict and animosity at a time when trust may be at an all-time low.
Interest Based Negotiation
In collaborative law the spouses and their team brainstorm options for settlement, then decide which options best meet the needs and important goals of both parties using interest based negotiation. Interest based negotiation involves telling the other party not only what you want, but why you want it. Agreements happen in collaborative law when parties realize they need each others' cooperation to get through divorce financially and emotionally intact. They often become more willing to consider the others' perspective when they concentrate on goals and interests that are important to them rather than simply stating a position.
Withdrawal of Collaborative Lawyers if No Settlement
Your Tampa collaborative lawyers demonstrate their own commitment to settling your divorce issues by agreeing that they will not go into court to represent you and your spouse or partner if you cannot reach a divorce settlement while in the collaborative law process. That commitment means you can be assured your Tampa collaborative lawyers will do everything in their power to help you find legal, practical solutions that work. Tampa collaborative lawyers have a responsibility to make sure you fully understand that you will have to get new divorce lawyers if you do not settle, and to get your informed consent to their potential withdrawal.
Collaborative law has an excellent track record for settlement of all divorce issues. However, if you have any questions or concerns about the part of collaborative law that requires the lawyers to withdraw if you do not settle, then please contact an experienced Tampa collaborative lawyer who can give you all the information you need to make an informed decision whether collaborative law is right for you.
The Newest Hybrid of Collaborative Law: Collaborative Mediation
Collaborative mediation incorporates the proven negotiation strategies of collaborative law into mediation making a dynamic and successful hybrid resolution process that works in divorce or civil cases - and without losing your lawyers if you do not settle. Collaborative mediation offers an excellent alternative to litigation for parties to reach fair and reasonable agreements. Read more about collaborative mediation on DotCO's Family Mediation & Arbitration page.
Some Basic Facts About Collaborative Law:
- Four states have Collaborative Law statutes – California, North Carolina, Florida, and Utah.
- The Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) has been drafted to make uniform the practice of collaborative law from state to state.
- The use of collaborative law was approved in 2007 by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (Formal Opinion #07-447).
- The ABA published the first text on collaborative law (Pauline Tesler, COLLABORATIVE LAW: ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE RESOLUTION IN DIVORCE WITHOUT LITIGATION) in 2001, with a second edition published by the ABA in 2009.
- Courts in California, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Georgia, and Utah have developed rules for the use of collaborative law.
- Collaborative law is practiced throughout the United States, every Canadian province, Australia, England, France, Germany, and at least 10 other countries.
- Legal ethics opinions in at least nine states (Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and South Carolina) approve the use of collaborative law.
For more information and resources on non-family civil and family collaborative law, contact the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP):
11811 N. Tatum Boulevard 1000
Phoenix, AZ 85028
Phone: (602) 963-8460
Fax: (602) 953-8461
Real Estate Appraisals
In collaborative law, the parties voluntarily exchange information about their assets. If you need a real estate appraisal, try one of these businesses.
New Generation Appraisal
Tampa, FL 33646-6755
Aapex Appraisal Services, Inc.
Sean A. McCray
Riverview, FL 33569
Tampa Bay Appraisal Service
Tampa, FL 33612
Tampa, FL 33606
ASAP Appraisals, Inc.
John C. Pfister
Tampa, FL 33624
Tampa, FL 33604
Tampa, FL 33629
BRG Appraisal Services
Tampa, FL 33688
Benchmark Appraisals, Inc.
Jonathon A. Green
Tampa, FL 33647
Sanders Realty & Appraisal Corp.
Katherine Brega Palmer
Tampa, FL 33629
Babcock & Babcock, Inc.
James M. Babcock
Tampa, FL 33626
The Dohring Group
Tampa, FL 33602
Residential Appraisal Group, Inc.
S. Martin Frank
Tampa, FL 33618
Trinity Appraisal Services
Tampa, FL 33625
Town Square Appraisals Inc.
Tampa, FL 33607
Contact a qualified and trained Tampa collaborative divorce lawyer today!
Tampa divorce lawyers serve clients throughout Western Florida, including Bloomingdale, Brandon, Clearwater, Dunedin, Egypt Lake-Leto, Feather Sound, Gibsonton, Largo, Lealman, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Palm River, Pinellas Park, Riverdale, Safety Harbor, St. George, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Town ‘N’ Country, Westchase, areas in the vicinity of MacDill AFB, Tampa International Airport, and other communities in Hillsborough County.