At Collaborative Family Law and Mediation LLC, our practice consists of direct representation of individual clients using the Collaborative method of dissolution of marriage. This method has been around for almost thirty years, however, it is a relatively new in the Pensacola-Milton area. It is becoming increasingly popular around the state of Florida because it gives clients the opportunity to control the outcome of their divorce and to focus on what matters most to the parties.
The Story of the Orange
A Visual Description of the Collaborative Divorce Process
Rather than engaging in the filing of pleading, such as petitions, counterpetitions, taking depositions and requests to produce and motions to compel, collaborative family law is different. The production of information is provided freely by the parties. It is a transparent process.
Rather than letting everyone in the world know about your personal information, collaborative family law protects the privacy of the parties. All meetings, communications and proposed settlement options are privileged and confidential. Collaborative meetings are held in the privacy of your attorney or your spouse’s attorney office. Agreements that are reached may not need to be filed with the clerk of the court which helps the parties private lives stay private.
Collaborative Divorce is a way of practicing law in which the attorneys agree to assist the parties using cooperative strategies rather than adversarial techniques and litigation. This early non-adversarial participation allows the attorneys to use analysis and reasoning to help their clients solve problems and creates a positive context for settlement. In Collaborative Divorce cases, the attorneys and the clients all sign an agreement saying that, if one of the parties choose to go to court, both parties must use different attorneys. In the overwhelming majority of Collaborative Divorce cases, this tremendous disincentive essentially eliminates court as an option and forces clients and their attorneys to find more creative and civil ways to resolve their conflicts.
Unlike the traditional family case, attorneys can be retained in the Collaborative method solely for the purpose of helping clients reach an agreement. Attorneys are not conducting the usual opposition research to highlight the opposition’s flaws. This can be the most destructive part of the traditional divorce process. In addition, a facilitator – generally a licensed mental health professional helps the parties and their attorneys focus on what is the most important issues to the family’s future happiness and well-being.
While almost all cases eventually settle, the process selected by the parties will have a huge impact of the quality of the agreement that the parties reach. Rather than having a Judge, a stranger to both parties, make tentative decisions that may result in an agreement, Collaborative Divorce allows the parties to make their own decisions about their future. The parties can resolve their dispute without all of the acrimony of the traditional adversarial process.
John Susko has been a leader in the alternative dispute resolution arena and has had experience as a former marital & family attorney and mediator. He has undertaken a study of what works and what does not work and has researched different models of the Collaborative process that are being implemented around the country. John will recommend ways to tailor a collaborative process that fits your family’s unique needs.
A Collaborative Divorce Attorney In the Milton-Pensacola Area
Located in Downtown Milton, the Collaborative Family Law & Mediation, LLC practices in Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa counties.