Deciding to divorce is one of the most difficult and painful decisions most people will ever make. Coming to this conclusion is typically the result of a lot of discussion, personal reflection and failed efforts to improve the relationship. Once the decision is made, though, the logistics and practical considerations of getting divorced must be addressed. Who will file the divorce petition? Will both sides hire lawyers? Should child custody and property division be decided first? These are important questions that all divorcing couples face, but another crucial matter those seeking divorce should consider is the type of divorce procedure to use. Most people assume that the traditional, combative divorce case in front of a judge is the only way to dissolve a marriage. However, as divorces have become more common over the past 30 years, alternative ways to pursue divorce have emerged, including a recent option called collaborative divorce. This method of divorce is geared toward allowing the parties to emerge from the process with a working relationship by the use of a non-combative dispute resolution approach. While collaborative divorce is an option, this choice is not right for everyone.
Marriage is a Business Contract
While viewing marriage as a business deal is not the most romantic approach, it does reflect the practical realities of the rights and obligations a couple both grant and assume to each other the day they marry. In the event of divorce, sorting out how to dissolve this arrangement is a proposition more suited for the abilities of a court, rather than the professional advisors that collaborate with divorcing parties in the collaborative divorce process. While it may seem more attractive to fashion one’s own conclusion to the relationship, the court has remedies it can access that are unavailable to private parties. These remedies are designed to ensure the unraveling of the relationship is just, and protect the rights of parties in weaker positions.
Traditional Divorce Can Be Civil
Collaborative divorce is known as the peaceful alternative to ending a marriage, but couples do not have to engage in protracted disputes simply because a traditional divorce case is filed. Couples can work out their own private settlement agreement, with the assistance of divorce attorneys, before stepping inside a courtroom. In fact, Florida offers a simplified divorce petition, which gives parties with no disputed issues a condensed and faster approach to navigating the divorce process.
Limitations on Probing the Other Side’s Claims
A key aspect of conventional divorce cases is the disclosure of financial information to the other side. This information is needed to assess the types of property owned jointly and separately for purposes of property division, and to see the financial resources of each party for calculations of child support and alimony awards. Filing the usual divorce petition gives each party the ability to request specific information, and to ask a court to compel the release of additional information if fraud or misrepresentation is suspected. Collaborative divorce does not give parties the tools to verify or contest the accuracy of the financial information offered. This limitation may make it easier to hide or withhold information on assets, so if someone considering divorce is unsure about what the other spouse owns, this process may not be the best choice.
Work with a Florida Divorce Attorney
If you are contemplating divorce, talk to a divorce attorney before filing a petition to make sure you choose the type of divorce best for you and your family. The Tampa Bay law firm All Family Law Group, P.A. is experienced in many different types of divorce, and can assist you with your case. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
by Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+