Miami Collaborative Family Law Lawyers

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative family law is a method utilized by parties that encourages a more civilized way of resolving family law disputes by negotiation and agreement thus avoiding court and the litigation process. The collaborative process strives to dissolve the marriage or resolve other family law issues in a way that addresses everyone’s legal, financial, and emotional needs. Collaborative family lawyers work toward settling your case rather than preparing for and conducting a trial, resulting in financial and emotional savings to the parties and their families. By treating each other with respect, working together towards settlement, and reducing stress created by litigation, the parties may create an environment where they can cooperate together in the future especially when the parties are parents of minor children

In most situations, the parties agree to participate in the Collaborative Family Law process prior to filing any legal actions with the Family Court. There are many benefits to beginning a Florida family law case in a collaborative manner. Two of the greatest benefits of the pre-suit collaborative process are as follows. First, because court action is not immediately initiated, the parties oftentimes are not immediately in an offensive or defensive stance and feel more open and may be more willing to work with each other to resolve their legal issues. Second, the parties are not subject to the Family Court’s mandatory disclosure rules requiring each party to file with the court a Financial Affidavit and other documentation setting forth their income and assets. This is one of the main benefits over mediation that generally is scheduled only after court action is commenced and the Court’s mandatory disclosure requirements are triggered. The Florida family law collaborative process is an excellent method for attempting to resolve family law issues in a private and cost-effective manner and is especially useful in high profile cases or cases where the parties do not wish to file their financial information with the court.

Each party in a collaborative case has independent representation by a family law attorney who has been trained in the collaborative approach. In addition to the collaborative family lawyers, the collaborative professional team can also include professionals from other areas who have been trained in the collaborative process. The professional team may include financial advisors or certified public accountants (CPAs) who can provide neutral recommendations regarding valuation of assets, tax issues, calculation of income and recommendations on other financial issues. The professional team may also include Mental Health Professionals (MHPs) who may help guide the parties through the emotional issues surrounding the loss of their relationship, provide neutral advice on issues such as child development and discuss the psychological impact upon minor children when considering different parenting plans. The MHPs may include parenting coaches, mental health therapists and psychologists. Because both parties agree upon the selection of the financial advisor and mental health professional, the parties receive honest, neutral advice that also results in a cost savings compared to each party selecting and paying for their own team of experts.

To begin the process, the parties sign a Participation Agreement. The Agreement requires the parties to commit to joint sessions intended to resolve their family law issues amicably and without the necessity of court action. The Participation Agreement also requires the parties to voluntarily exchange all financial documents necessary for both parties to make informed financial decisions, to agree to confidentiality of all communications made during the collaborative process, and to agree that the collaborative lawyers will withdraw their representation and not represent their clients in court if the process does not yield an agreement.

After each party meets independently with the Mental Health Professional, the parties, their Collaborative Family Lawyers and the MHP will conduct joint meetings to work towards settlement of all outstanding family law issues. If an agreement is reached, a Marriage Settlement Agreement or other agreement is drafted and signed by the parties. Thereafter, the Miami Collaborative Family Lawyers would prepare a Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, a Joint Answer to the Petition and would file the Settlement Agreement with the Court.

Contact Our Dade County Collaborative Family Law Attorneys Today

Attorney Lisa Marie Vari is a trained collaborative family lawyer, a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals as well as the Miami Collaborative Family Law Institute (CFLI). Contact our Miami collaborative family law attorneys at 305-222-7351 or e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County or Monroe County collaborative divorce case.

Our Miami collaborative divorce lawyers accept Florida collaborative family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County. Consultations are available in person in Miami and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like more information on family law topics, read the topics in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).