Conflicts in divorce and other areas of family law can be painful and frightening. Your future is at stake. But that does not mean you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want. In many situations, you can reach the best results through collaborative law.
At West Family Law Group, we firmly believe in the advantages of resolving disputes through collaborative means. We know how to succeed through traditional litigation, but so often, we see that when parties work together to find solutions, they all walk away as winners. Both the process and the results can be much better using a collaborative approach.
Creative Solutions that Minimize Conflict
In traditional litigation, attorneys fight for their clients in a pitched battle. They try to impress the court with their arguments and make the other side look bad. The court picks a winner and a loser. But even the winner will have endured such trauma that they may find it a hollow victory.
The collaborative process is the complete opposite. Instead of leading a fight, the attorneys lead problem-solving sessions. They develop creative solutions that meet the needs of both parties. Attorneys in collaborative law still protect their clients’ rights and work to help them achieve the best outcome. They still educate their clients about the law and advocate for them during negotiations. But they don’t see the outcome as all or nothing. They find compromise solutions that allow each party to achieve their objectives without giving up what matters most.
Because the process focuses on cooperation rather than conflict, the stress level is much lower. Other family members do not get used as pawns in a painful struggle.
More Control, Less Money
One of the initial advantages of the collaborative law approach that appeals to clients is the opportunity to save money by bypassing the courtroom. When you resolve the terms of your divorce without litigation, you can save substantial amounts of money. The process can also conclude considerably quicker.
The advantage that couples often come to appreciate more once they start is that in collaborative divorce, they control the outcome. In a litigated divorce, the judge makes the decisions—and often those decisions are not what either party really wanted. The decisions often provide only a short-term solution to a recurring problem. A collaborative divorce keeps the couple in control of the terms that affect their future. They can establish lasting results.
How Collaborative Law Works
Believe it or not, in Florida, parts of the collaborative law process are governed by procedural rules just like litigated cases. This creates uniformity in family law cases and provides protection if any parts of a proceeding later need to be addressed in court.
In the collaborative process:
- Each party is represented by a qualified collaborative law attorney
- Both parties pledge to be respectful, negotiate in good faith, and resolve differences without litigation.
- The attorneys develop a problem-solving team with a financial advisor and mental health professional selected to support the best interests of the family as a whole
- A series of meetings is held in private to explore goals and expectations and then negotiate mutually-acceptable solutions
- The solutions are drawn up into a comprehensive written agreement signed by both parties
The agreement reached at the end of the process is binding on both parties going forward.
The Benefits of Collaborative Law
West Family Law Group was an early advocate of using the collaborative law process because of the many benefits. We know that collaborative law doesn’t just provide a quick solution but the right solution for couples facing difficult challenges. Instead of making decisions based on legal precedent the way a judge would, the attorneys help couples anticipate future needs and tailor long-term solutions to their individual goals.
This cooperative approach minimizes unnecessary conflict and preserves relationships throughout the family. The approach offers long-term solutions that work, rather than short-lived agreements that can be financially and emotionally disastrous.
Work with the Leaders in Collaborative Law
Richard West was one of the first lawyers in Orlando to embrace the collaborative law model for divorce—after litigating divorce cases for 25 years. He has developed a team at West Family Law Group that knows how to take the best advantage of the benefits of the collaborative law process to enable clients to move forward without the emotional and economic losses that so often result in divorce traditional divorce litigation.
We invite you to schedule a confidential consultation to learn more about how the collaborative process could work in your situation.