The Florida Collaborative Law Process Act: Explained

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Are you considering getting a divorce in Clearwater, Florida? If so, you may be feeling stressed out and overwhelmed by the process, and worried about how your impending separation could impact your family. After all, we think of divorce as a long, contentious process that leaves everyone with hurt feelings. Fortunately, however, it does not always have to be that way.

For some couples, the option of collaborative divorce provides a useful alternative. Collaborative divorce is a process that puts both spouses (and their lawyers) on the same side, incentivizing them to find mutually agreeable solutions. To further facilitate collaborative divorce in Florida, the state legislature recently passed the Collaborative Law Process Act, which strengths the process and makes it more effective.

Three Things You Need to Know About the Collaborative Law Process Act 

  1. Communication is Privileged

When you meet with you Clearwater family law attorney, any information you share with them is fully confidential. Indeed, conversations with your own lawyer are covered by attorney-client privilege. This is an extremely important legal rule, as it allows people to have an open line of communication with their legal representative. Under the Florida Collaborative Law Process Act, matters discussed within collaborative divorce process will now also be entitled to very strong confidentiality protections. Put another way, what you say during the collaborative law proceedings cannot be used against you in court at a later date. The records of the process are also confidential, and not subject to legal discovery. This legislative change allows couples to have open and frank discussions during their collaborative law meetings without worrying about how their words can be turned against them. 

  1. The Conditions Under Which the Collaborative Law Process Ends

The act sets clear standards for when the collaborative law process will be terminated. Under the law, your collaborative law proceedings will end if and when any of the following three things happen:

  1. You and the other party successfully reach an agreement;
  2. Either of the parties voluntarily withdraws from the process; or
  3. Either party files any other materially relevant legal motion without the consent of the other parties involved in the case.
  1. Collaborative Law Goes Beyond Divorce

Several different family law issues qualify to be resolved using the legal framework established by the Collaborative Law Process Act. Indeed, collaborative law in Florida is an effective tool for Florida families seeking to resolve many different types of sensitive disputes. Specifically, you can use this process for the following family matters:

  • Divorce;
  • Asset and debt distribution disputes;
  • Spousal support (alimony);
  • Child support;
  • Child custody;
  • Child visitation rights;
  • Parental relocation with children;
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; and
  • Paternity rights issues.

Contact Our Office Today 

At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., we have extensive experience handling collaborative law in Florida. To find out how we can help you and your family, please call us today at (727) 584-2528 to schedule a fully confidential review of your case. From our office in Largo, we serve clients throughout Pinellas County, including in Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Saint Petersburg.

Resource:

myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0967er.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0967&Session=2016

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