Florida Grandparents’ Rights and Collaborative Divorce

Grandparents are, no doubt, an important part of the lives of Florida’s children.  The state government has on several occasions since 1978 enacted legislation to recognize Florida grandparent visitation and custody rights.  However, each statute which attempted to raise grandparents’ rights to the level of parents’ rights has been struck down by the Florida Supreme Court and appellate decisions as violating the fundamental rights of parents.

One effect of these court decisions is that a family law judge will not grant grandparents any visitation rights over the objection of a fit parent during divorce proceedings.

But what if there was a divorce process in which the importance of grandparents’ interaction with their grandchildren could be recognized?  There is, and the process is called collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a dispute resolution process where the spouses and their attorneys agree not to engage in bitter, public courtroom battles.  Instead, decisions concerning the dissolution of the marriage, such as parenting plans and division of assets, are made by agreement of the spouses in private and confidential meetings.

Each spouse has an attorney to help advise them, and a trained facilitator is also retained to ensure that everyone (including the attorneys) focus on the best interests of the children  and the future of the family.  The facilitator, who is generally a mental health professional, also helps the clients explore creative options – such as including grandparent visitation in the parenting plan – that a judge would never entertain.

In fact, if the spouses agree, the grandparents can even be a part of the collaborative divorce process and have their voices heard.

Keep in mind that a grandparent visitation clause may not be enforceable by court order; however, most family law attorneys’ experience is that parties are much more likely to abide by an agreement reached by compromise as compared to an order imposed by a judge.  Further, agreements reached via the collaborative law process have rarely been challenged in court; rather, if a change is needed, the collaborative process is often reinstituted.

If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help your grandchildren, 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 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.

About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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2 Responses to Florida Grandparents’ Rights and Collaborative Divorce

  1. Pingback: ABC Family Law Blog > Florida Grandparents’ Rights and Collaborative Divorce | ABC Collaborative Divorce Blog

  2. Pingback: Florida Child Custody, Military Service, and Grandparents’ Rights | ABC Family Law Blog

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