By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Agreements on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

If you wish you could collaborate to reach agreement in parenting and financial issues, now you can. Florida just passed the Collaborative Law Bill. What’s the collaborative process all about?

I’ve written extensively on all types of alternatives to court to end your divorce and paternity disputes. The Collaborative Law Process is a voluntary way to resolve your case by agreement – and without the threat of litigation.

It starts when both sides and their lawyers sign a “collaborative participation agreement,” committing to a cooperative process.

The lawyers must withdraw if the process fails, so lawyers are motivated to resolve your case. It also costs less, takes less time, causes less stress, opens up new possibilities and should be considered by every couple separating.

Last week, the Florida Legislature passed the Collaborative Law Bill. The bill created Florida’s new Collaborative Law Process Act. The Act is based on the Uniform Collaborative Law Rules, which were created by the by the Uniform Law Commission in 2009.

The rules have already been adopted in 12 states, the District of Columbia and three sections of the American Bar Association. Passage of the Collaborative Law Bill puts Florida at the forefront of family law again.

The new law will provide much needed law for beginning, concluding, and terminating a collaborative law process. It also provides statutory privileges and confidentiality of communications to facilitate the process.

The collaborative law movement started in 1990. Today, collaborative law lawyers like myself are helping resolve disputes in every state of the United States, and in every English-speaking country.

Under the new law, the following issues are subject to resolution through the collaborative law process:

-Marriage, divorce, dissolution, annulment, and marital property distribution;

-Child custody, visitation, parenting plans, and parenting time;

-Alimony, maintenance, child support;

-Parental relocation with a child;

-Premarital, marital, and post-marital agreements; and

-Paternity.

In the collaborative process, the spouses and lawyers meet in a series of sessions at one location which is attended, if necessary, by a forensic accountant and mental health professional who are mutually chosen by the lawyers.

Everyone is tasked with discussing a wide range of possible resolutions for both parties; much more than are ever available in litigation.

Because you are designing your own solution, parties to the collaborative process are more pleased with the results and future compliance than those who have to litigate.

Collaborative Law has been available in Florida for years, and now it will be protected by statute. The Effective Date of the new law will be July 1, 2016, but you can start your Collaborative case right now.

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