If you are getting divorced in Tampa Bay, you have two main options: Enter the adversarial system or utilize the collaborative process. How is adversarial divorce different from collaborative divorce?
The term “adversarial” is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “pertaining to or characterized by antagonism and conflict.”
Anyone who has gone through the traditional divorce litigation process can probably relate and understand why the Florida court system is known as an adversarial system. A Husband and Wife are forced to face off as adversaries, with each often trying to prove the other a bad parent with poor morals and terrible financial habits, to boot. They are treated as opposing parties with dueling experts and contrary interests. Their personal lives are poked and prodded and laid bare in a public forum as they get judged by, well, a judge. Mediation may be utilized, but litigation attorneys always maintain the threat to do battle in court.
Contrast this to collaborative divorce, a form of dispute resolution offered in Tampa Bay. A Husband and Wife are treated not as adversaries, but as members of a team who, along with their collaborative attorneys and other professionals, are simply looking for options to settle differences. A facilitator ensures that communication remains productive and that the spouses focus on their common interests, such as their children. Often times, a neutral financial professional will help the spouses learn how to maximize the benefit of their assets while minimizing the impact of debt.
Each spouse hires a separate collaborative attorney who advises them throughout the process. A collaborative attorney is contractually barred from bringing any matter to be litigated in front of a judge, which means that the attorney’s sole focus is to help his or her client reach a fair settlement that is acceptable to both spouses.
In collaborative divorce, all discussions remain private and confidential. Once a full settlement is reached, a quick, five-minute final hearing will be required to make the divorce official; however, Tampa judges permit collaborative clients to keep their financial information and settlement terms out of the court file.
So, how is adversarial divorce different from collaborative divorce? Collaborative divorce helps spouses end their marriage without destroying their family.
If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help you, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover is Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam served on the taskforce that drafted the Hillsborough County collaborative family practice administrative order signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez.