What Can I Do To Reduce The Costs Of My Florida Divorce?

Going through divorce in Florida can be a very expensive proposition.  No matter which path you choose for your divorce, you are going to be spending money.  However, there are things you can do to reduce your costs.

1.  Agree to the Collaborative Family Law Process

The first thing you and your spouse can do is retain collaboratively-trained attorneys and agree to use the collaborative family law process.  In the collaborative process, you and your spouse each hire separate attorneys for the sole purpose of helping you reach a settlement.  Collaborative attorneys are prevented by contract from engaging in expensive contested courtroom proceedings.  Accordingly, they focus their attention – and your resources – on helping you and your spouse come to an agreement, rather than preparing for trial or playing litigation games.

2.  Retain a Neutral Collaborative Facilitator and Neutral Financial Professional

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, hiring a Neutral Collaborative Facilitator and Neutral Financial Professional can save you money.  Here is how:  A Collaborative Facilitator, who is generally a trained mental health professional, can cut through the clutter of emotionally-charged issues (such as child custody or alimony) and help the parties focus on (i) what is important to them and (ii) the future.  This moves clients away from positions and helps them come to an agreement they can live with more quickly, and thus less expensively.

A Neutral Financial Professional, who is usually either a licensed financial planner or certified public accountant, gathers and analyzes the financial documents and information which the parties are required by Florida law to exchange.  In non-collaborative divorce matters, this step is usually done by each parties’ attorney.  Using a financial professional is more cost-effective because you have one neutral professional charging for mandatory disclosure rather than two separately-billing attorneys.  Further, because of the neutral financial professional’s training and expertise, he or she can gather and analyze the documents and information – and develop financial settlement options – much more quickly than attorneys can.

3. Don’t Argue Over The Vacuum Cleaner

I recently attended a training on streamlining collaborative practice taught by the Collaborative Divorce Institute, and they had a list of actions and things that parties should avoid if they want to reduce the costs of their divorce.  This included the following: (i) Withholding pertinent information; (ii) Talking more than listening; (iii) Cancelling scheduled meetings; (iv) Not completing tasks you have committed to completing; (v) Not asking for help when you are confused; and (vi) Being unrealistic about your budget and cash-flow.

There was an additional suggestion for clients that I suggest can save a lot of money:  Don’t argue over the vacuum cleaner!  Whether it is a vacuum cleaner, or a guitar, or an armoire, I have seen clients waste thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees arguing over an object worth maybe a few hundred dollar.  Again, in the collaborative process, this is often where the neutral collaborative facilitator becomes essential in keeping costs down and redirecting parties to what is important and to their future.

If you want to learn more about how the collaborative divorce process can save your families’ hard-earned dollars, 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 President of Next Generation Divorce, a practice group of collaborative attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals dedicated to helping families resolve their disputes respectfully, privately, and cost-effectively.  Next Generation Divorce covers Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties.

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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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