Family Diplomacy is Here!

Family Diplomacy logoThe Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. is now Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm!  Please check out our new website at http://FamilyDiplomacy.com.  New blog posts will now be published at http://FamilyDiplomacy.com/blog.

We now practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce.  We also work with clients in mediation, direct negotiations, unbundled legal services, adoptions, and name changes.

You can learn more at our all new Frequently Asked Questions page at http://FamilyDiplomacy.com/faq/.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Collaborative Divorce

Divorce is difficult, but not all divorces are created equally.  Here in Tampa Bay and Greater Sarasota, more and more people are choosing to resolve their family law issues via the collaborative process.  Collaborative divorce is a method of dispute resolution where the spouses agree from the beginning that they are each going to retain attorneys who will work as settlement specialists and who will not engage in court battles.

Here are the top 5 reasons any Florida couple considering a split should choose collaborative divorce:

1.  Privacy

Rather than have their dirty laundry aired in a public courthouse, spouses going through a collaborative divorce resolve all issues through privileged and confidential discussions in a private conference room.

This can be especially important for business-owners, professionals, and high-profile Florida residents who are concerned about the public release of either financial details or embarrassing personal shortcomings.

2.  Respect

By its very nature, divorces that go through the court system are adversarial.  They pit husband versus wife, mother versus father, as each side tries to prove to a judge that he or she is a better parent or deserves more money.  In contrast, collaborative divorce is a team-based method of conflict resolution, where attorneys help the spouses attack the problem rather than attack one another.  The attorneys help foster an atmosphere of respect and dignity within discussions.

Parents and their children (whether minor or adult) are the ones who benefit the most from this aspect of collaborative divorce, as though the marriage is ending, the relationship as co-parents will continue.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Linda Solomon And The Neutral Facilitator Collaborative Divorce Model

Collaborative divorce has one simple requirement: The spouses must each retain attorneys who focus solely on helping them reach an agreement on all issues.  The collaborative attorneys are private problem-solving specialists, and they cannot be used in contested court hearings.  This requirement creates a safe, non-adversarial environment so that each spouse knows that the other spouse’s attorney is not attempting to gather information to use against him or her later in court.  It also ensures that resources are directed towards helping the clients reach an agreement rather than wasted in opposition research or dirty trial tactics.

There are many different models of collaborative divorce that are used throughout the world.  The model that is most frequently used here in Florida involves one neutral facilitator, who generally has a mental health background, and one neutral financial professional.  This model was created in Texas by, among others, Linda Solomon, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

You can learn more about Linda Solomon and the beginning of this model in the video below from Cutting Edge Law:

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Origins of Collaborative Divorce: Stu Webb’s Letter

In 1990, a Minnesota family law attorney named Stu Webb began promoting what he deemed “Collaborative Law,” or the practice of law separating out trial work and creating negotiation specialists.  Collaborative Law is now used in Tampa Bay, throughout Florida, and around the world, as families have realized that they don’t want to be placed in the adversarial proceedings of trial practice for divorce and other personal matters.

On February 14, 1990, Webb wrote a letter to The Honorable A.M. “Sandy” Keith,
a Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, describing Collaborative Law.  Below is the text of the letter:

Dear Sandy:

I met you at a party at Steve & Marilyn Erickson’s several years ago. I was interested in your involvement with mediation. I also heard you talk last November at the Conference for Dispute Resolution Practitioners Seminar.

I, too, took Steve and Marilyn’s mediation training and have done mediation, mediation wrap-ups and, generally, have been vitally interested in exploring alternative dispute resolution in all its manifestations.

I think I’ve come up with a new wrinkle that I’d like to share with you. One of the aspects of mediation that I feel is a weakness is that it basically leaves out input by the lawyer at the early stages (sometimes that’s an advantage!). By that I don’t mean adversarial, contentious lawyering, but the analytical, reasoned ability to solve problems and generate creative alternatives and create a positive context for settlement. Of course, these attributes of good lawyering are not utilized greatly in the usual adversarial family law proceeding either.

But you and I have both experienced, I’m sure, those occasional times, occurring usually by accident, when in the course of attempting to negotiate a family law settlement, we find ourselves in a conference with the opposing counsel, and perhaps the respective clients, where the dynamics were such that in a climate of positive energy, creative alternatives were presented. In that context, everyone contributed to a final settlement that satisfied all concerned—and everyone left the conference feeling high energy, good feelings and satisfaction. More than likely, the possibility for a change in the way the parties related to each other in the future may have greatly increased. As a result, the lawyers may also develop a degree of trust between them that might make future dealings more productive. Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Stages of Grief In Divorce

In 1969, a Swiss psychiatrist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, published a book in which she described the five stages of grief experienced by terminally-ill patients.  This work was later expanded to help explain the emotions of people who have lost a loved one and others experiencing personal loss, such as spouses going through divorce.

Divorce is a trauma, and anyone going through this trauma may be helped by speaking with a counselor or therapist.  Additionally, you should consider whether the collaborative family law process may be helpful to your family, as it is a private form of dispute resolution that generally involves a neutral facilitator, who usually has a mental health background.  This is in recognition that divorce is not just a legal matter, but also a highly emotional matter.

Regardless, below are the five stages of grief you may experience if you are going through divorce:

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keiba Shaw Media Statement on Tampa Same Sex Divorce Appeal

On May 29, 2015, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal released its opinion in the matter of Shaw v. Shaw.  It determined that Florida should give full faith and credit to a same-sex marriage entered into under the laws of Massachusetts, and that Florida courts have the authority to dissolve the marriage.

This has been a long, tough road, but this is truly a great day for equality.

Keiba Shaw has authorized the release of the following statement:

An uncontested divorce between a man and a woman in Florida can be resolved in as little as a month. That’s just four weeks to dissolve a negative situation that both parties agree needs to end. It doesn’t matter how long they were married or WHERE they were married.

My [soon-to-be] former spouse and I used a next generation process, collaborative divorce, that was designed to resolve conflicts in a manner that was private, non-litigated, peaceful, and respectful. We reached a full agreement on all issues in two meetings that were one week apart.

And yet, because my former spouse and I are both women, my divorce has taken more than a year to be granted and has unnecessarily disrupted my life and that of my family members. The legal complexities have limited my options and the resulting financial burden has made it harder to take care of my family the way I envisioned.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law News, LGBT Family Law Matters, The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Video: General’s Daughter Discusses Her Peaceful Divorce

Cynthia Schwarzkopf, daughter of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr, discusses how she and her husband utilized the collaborative family law process to dissolve her marriage in a video released by the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group.

You can see the video below the jump:

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Research Findings on Collaborative Divorce from England and Wales

In June 2014, United Kingdom researchers Anne Barlow, Rosemary Hunter, Janet Smithson, and Jan Ewing published a research paper titled Mapping Paths to Family Justice.  The paper was based on research sponsored by the University of Exeter, the University of Kent, and the Economic & Research Council and which compared various forms of private dispute resolution for divorce, including collaborative practice.

As collaborative divorce is relatively new in England and Wales, there were comparatively few respondents for the research, so it may not be representative of all collaborative cases.  Nonetheless, it may be helpful for Florida families and collaborative practitioners to review the results.

The study reviews three types of private forms of family dispute resolution.  One type, solicitor negotiation, isn’t exactly utilized in Florida as we do not have do not have a distinction between solicitors and barristers, we just have attorneys.  Either way, below are the definitions used for each process that was analyzed:

  1. Solicitor negotiation – Solicitors engage in a process of correspondence and discussion to broker a solution on behalf of their clients without going to court.
  2. Mediation – Both parties attempt to resolve issues relating to their separation with the assistance of a professional family mediator.
  3. Collaborative law – Each party is represented by their own lawyer, negotiations are conducted face to face in four-way meetings between the parties and their lawyers, with all parties agreeing not to go to court.

Below are some of the main findings and recommendations on divorces that used the collaborative law process:

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Non-Adversarial Divorce in Tampa Bay

When most people think of divorce, they think of a courthouse battle.  Florida’s court system pits husband versus wife, mother versus father, and what ensues is many times not too different from divorces depicted in War of the Roses or Kramer vs. Kramer.

But collaborative divorce is something different altogether.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast: Forrest “Woody” Mosten on Building a Collaborative Practice

Forrest “Woody” Mosten, an internationally renowned collaborative professional and mediator and author of the Collaborative Divorce Handbook, The Complete Guide to Mediation, and Unbundling Legal Services, was recently in Tampa to put on a workshop sponsored by Next Generation Divorce.

During a lunch break at the workshop, Woody spoke with Dr. Garin Vick for his podcast show, Divorce Without Destruction.  Woody and Garin discussed how attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals could build a full-time peacemaking practice.  Again, this was recorded during a lunch break of a two-day conference, so the audio is not the greatest, but Woody offers great advice for divorce professionals who want to help their clients via collaborative practice and other non-litigation methods.

This podcast may be of interest not only to professionals, but also to divorcing spouses to get a glimpse of the passion that collaborative professionals tend to have for helping their clients:

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment