Tampa Collaborative Divorce Lawyer
The end of fault-based divorce made most family law proceedings much more civil. Husbands and wives no longer had to “air their dirty laundry” for everyone to see. Furthermore, there was no need to attack the other spouse as viciously. However, the adversarial model remains in place, as it does in all American court cases. Some people yearn for a different way that does not just minimize conflict. There must be a method, they reason, that eliminates that discord altogether.
In many cases, that method is collaborative law. The professionals at Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group are among the few family law attorneys in Hillsborough County that are certified to provide Tampa collaborative divorce services. Even fewer lawyers have more than cursory experience in this area, and our attorneys belong to this group as well. This knowledge and experience helps us streamline a streamlined process even further without sacrificing your legal and financial rights.
What Is Collaborative Law?
All family law litigation, even if it’s resolved by agreement or through mediation, begins with a separate petition and an answer. That’s essentially like placing two boxers in two corners of the ring. Even in reasonably amicable cases, some conflict is almost inevitable due to the nature of the proceeding.
But collaborative law is different. Instead of a separate petition and answer, the parties file a joint statement of intent to pursue collaborative law. Instead of boxers in their corners, the setup is more like politicians at a summit meeting. Serious disagreements may still arise, but the system is designed to end such conflicts and not create them. Furthermore, the collaborative law statement usually contains a joint commitment to avoid such conflict if at all possible.
Next, instead of filing more paperwork or attending a court hearing, the parties immediately retire to the negotiating room. Over the course of the next several months, they mutually work out agreements in areas like:
- Parenting time,
- Spousal support,
- Property division, and
- Child support.
If there is a need for outside professionals, such as a real estate appraiser or a child psychologist, the parties agree on one person and divide the cost proportionally.
Collaborative law is almost always successful. Plus, the collaborative law process is usually not as time-consuming as the litigation process. In the unlikely event that things do not work out, the parties must retain new counsel and start over at the beginning.
Is Collaborative Law Right for Us?
This process is something like ongoing mediation. But mediation is part of the litigation process, and collaborative law is a litigation alternative.
There must be a high level of trust between the soon-to-be-ex spouses. Furthermore, since they will be spending lots of time in the same room, they must at least be civil towards one another. Perhaps most importantly, each spouse must be willing to make sacrifices for the collective good. That could mean giving up some of your rights and giving them to the other spouse.
If you are not completely on board with the collaborative law process, it will not work and will be a waste of time and money for everyone. There is no shame in admitting that collaborative law is not right for you. The only shame is in making a half-hearted attempt.
Connect With Experienced Tampa Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
Collaborative law is available in Florida. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Tampa, contact the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.