What is collaborative law?

If you feel your relationship with your spouse isn't negative or violent and want to work through your divorce in a positive and constructive way, then collaborative law may be the best way for you to move forward. This kind of law focuses on you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse working together to determine how to divide your assets, how to take care of your children, what to do with pets and other important decisions.

How do you start a collaborative process?

To start with, you need to file for your marriage's dissolution. Once that's done, you can enter the voluntary dispute resolution process known as collaborative law.

What happens when you meet with your attorney?

You and your spouse need to bring all the related materials to the attorneys of your choice. You'll need to determine the scope of the issue, too. For instance, if you want to talk only about a parenting plan, then only bring information about your work schedules, incomes, children and other related items that could affect your plan. If you want to talk about property division, you'll need to have outlines showing all your assets.

What is the purpose of collaborative law?

The overall purpose of collaborative law is to enter into an agreement and written settlement with your other half outside the courtroom. You can solve issues with your debts, determine who gets which assets in the divorce, work out child custody or determine other important factors of the divorce. By taking time to do this outside court, you can simply present your paperwork and negotiations to the judge when you're ready to finalize your dissolution of marriage.

Source: Florida Bar, "Collaborative Law," accessed Jan. 08, 2016

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