Collaborative Law is a process whereby parties and their respective attorneys work together with the sole goal of reaching an efficient, fair, comprehensive settlement of all issues. The team of professionals assists and supports the parties as problem-solvers, not as adversaries.
The Florida Legislature enacted the Collaborative Law Process Act, effective June 2017, for the purpose of creating a uniform system of practice for collaborative family law cases. The policy goals are to encourage peaceful and early resolutions of disputes in a non-adversarial manner which preserves the working relationship between the parties and reduces the emotional and financial toll of litigation.
All agreements are reached in settlement conferences. Trials and hearings are eliminated, as settlement is the only agenda.
The Three Key Elements:
- A voluntary and open exchange of information between the participants.
- A pledge by the team to reach an out-of-court settlement and not to litigate. If the team is unsuccessful in resolving the issues, all members of the team are discharged.
- A commitment to respect the parties’ individual and shared goals.
The Collaborative Process uses informal discussions and conferences attended by both parties and their attorneys in an atmosphere of honesty, cooperation, integrity, transparency, and professionalism.
It requires that both parties, with the assistance of their attorneys, provide all pertinent documents and information relating to the issues to be settled, and that they work together toward a shared resolution.
Decision-making meetings of all members of the team are scheduled with agendas in place and agreed agendas are followed.