Collaborative Law – Part II

Participation Agreement

In order to participate in the Collaborative law process, the parties and their respective attorneys are required to sign a written agreement that sets forth each parties intent to resolve your Florida Dissolution of Marriage by using the Collaborative Law process.

An important part of this agreement is the requirement “that the clients will make timely, full, candid and informal disclosure of information related to the collaborative matter without formal discovery and will promptly update previously disclosed information that has materially changed.” This means that each party must agree to negotiate in good faith and to be fully forthcoming – otherwise the Collaborative Law process will not be beneficial to either party or attorney.

The Collaborative Law process is voluntary and can be unilaterally terminated for any reason, therefore a party can walk away from the agreement if he or she believes that the other side is not operating in good faith and is being deceptive. At New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will make extreme efforts to insure that the other side follows the Collaborative Law rules which are located in the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.
In the agreement, the parties are required to recognize that if either of them initiates a proceeding before the Florida Family Law Court that not only is the Collaborative Law process terminated, but their respective attorneys are not legally able to represent them in Court.

New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. recognizes that the mandatory terms in Collaborative Law Participation Agreement when taken together are what sets this process apart from the other common avenues of dispute resolution that is available – such as plain negotiation, mediation and arbitration – since none of these require a party to negotiate in good faith and all of them are litigious in nature. The Collaborative Law process requires the parties to work to together to resolve issues, so if you are unable to amicably work with your spouse this process may not be the best to pursue.

While the Collaborative Law model has existed for a number of years, there was hesitance amongst not only parties, but also among attorneys to use the process to attempt to resolve legal issues that existed. As our state moved towards enacting the Florida Collaborative Law Process Act in 2016, more couples began to look at using this process to as the best mechanism to resolve the issues of their marriage. In addition, Florida Family Law attorneys such as New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq began to recognize how valuable of a tool that Collaborative Law could be in attaining a resolution to divorce, custody, paternity and other family law matters without the emotional harm and distress that is normally associated with litigation.

Overall, the Collaborative Law process is more cost effective than almost all of the other forms of divorce. If you are contemplating a divorce, paternity case or even filing a supplemental petition to modify a current family law order, contact New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. to see whether the Collaborative Law process is appropriate for you.