You and your spouse have decided you no longer work as a married couple. You decide to part amicably, remain friends and raise your kids together. You want to agree on child custody, support, property division - well, everything - on your own.
You're almost there but can't hammer out the final few issues. It sounds as if you and your spouse are great candidates for what is known as a collaborative divorce.
Under collaborative law, legal issues move away from the need to fight to the need to solve problems. There are several benefits to collaborative law:
- It saves time and money
- It occurs in a more relaxed setting.
- It allows the two parties to chat informally and share ideas and information
- It lets you negotiate in a friendly manner to come up with the answers that work for you and not a judge.
Collaborative divorces work this way. Each spouse hires an attorney of their choosing, and that attorney must understand the process and how it differs from divorce litigation in a courtroom.
Once you choose your attorney, the two of you will sit down privately to discuss your goals. Be able to communicate what you think is the amount you'll need for child support and other items. You and your attorney should go through each of the items on your list and know exactly what you can live with before negotiations start.
With that task done, you and your attorney will meet with your spouse and your spouse's attorney. Be prepared to meet more than once. You also likely will call in accountants or people who work on child custody issues. These are neutral third parties who are there to help you.
If you still are struggling to reach the final decisions, a mediator can be brought in to assist. They are skilled in helping both parties come to satisfactory agreements. Once you come to that agreement, you'll be able to bypass the Florida courthouse, and instead, file your papers as an easy and uncontested divorce.