Collaborative Divorce: A More Conciliatory Approach to Separation

Deciding to end a marriage is often a difficult choice. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of a series of difficult decisions for many people. Cases can become heated and can take a long time to make their way through the judicial system. Collaborative divorce is a method to avoid a protracted court battle.

Collaborative divorce and other alternatives to the traditional divorce process are available to clients of Sutton Law Firm. Debra J. Sutton at the Sutton Law Firm has over 30 years of experience practicing family law and can walk you through the process. As a qualified collaborative divorce lawyer, Ms. Sutton helps you get results that make sense and is committed to recommending the method best for your needs. We offer consultations from our offices in Bartow, FL, and St. Petersburg, FL, and look forward to working with you.

Man and woman shaking hands over a table

Collaborative divorce offers a more conciliatory approach to legal separation and divorce. 

What is Collaborative Divorce?

The phrase “collaborative divorce” may sound like a paradox. Most people have a hard time imagining divorcing parties agreeing on anything. However, this approach to divorce or any family law matter is intended to remove the complexity and the hostility that so often surrounds the process. In this setting, both parties agree to work out their differences outside of the courtroom. Parties are assisted by their attorneys and other professionals. The focus is on the good of the family as a whole, rather than on the individual. This approach allows us to consider the needs of everyone, particularly children, and develop solutions that are agreeable to all parties involved.

During the process, you can expect:

  • Identification of each party’s concerns and fears
  • Reports and recommendations about child time sharing and support from child specialists 
  • Recommendations for allocation of family income to meet financial needs of the parties and children
  • Evaluation of assets and debts, to determine a fair and equitable distribution, in many cases with input from an accountant or other forensic expert on the collaborative team
  • Discussion with your former spouse about these issues and where needed, with assistance from an appropriate collaborative member, fostering present and future communication

Each party will employer a lawyer. The other professionals retained will depend on the needs of the case. Unlike litigation where each party may hire a CPA, in the collaborative  process, the parties select a mutual financial professional with an immediate cost savings to the family. The use of experts beyond the attorneys is voluntary but the idea in collaboration is, in part, to use varied expertise to do what is best for their family.

Debra Sutton has been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Appellate Practice since 1997 and Board Certified in Marital and Family Law since 2001.

Why Consider Collaborative Divorce

When done properly, the collaborative process can have many benefits, including: 

  • Shorter timeline
  • Reduced expense
  • Increased sense of security for children as a result of greater focus on the family as a whole
  • More harmonious atmosphere after divorce, separation or the post-judgment modification, which makes it easier for both parties to work together for their sake and that of their children
  • Private information remains confidential rather than becoming part of a court record and accessible to others by online search

We understand this type of divorce and method for resolving family law disputes is not the answer for everyone. However, we have the experience you need to help make that decision. Debra Sutton is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law and can help you explore all the available options. 

How We Help

Having an experienced and qualified attorney by your side helps ease the tension and can help lift the anxiety you feel about ending a marriage or litigating matters related to children. Debra Sutton has been Board Certified in Marital and Family Law since 2001 and Board Certified in Appellate Practice since 1997, handling family law matters before trial and appellate courts for 30 years. In fact, she is one of less than six percent of Florida attorneys who have achieved certification and less than one percent who have earned  Board Certification in family law.

Discuss Your Options Today

If you are dreading the prospect of a messy separation, a collaborative divorce may be a good alternative. Call our office at (863) 533-8912 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and discuss your options with a professional.

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