Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist is seeking a divorce from his wife of eight years. While the former Governor and current U.S. Representative currently has a prenuptial agreement with his wife, Carole, there are still issues that need to be worked out and the two are doing it Collaboratively.
Crist announced that he and his wife will use the Collaborative Law Process to settle their divorce. Using the Collaborative Process, Crist, and his wife will be able to keep information about their personal and financial life private during the proceedings.
As the Collaborative Process continues to grow in the State of Florida, this is another huge vote of confidence for both citizens and Collaborative professionals. We hope to see the Florida Supreme Court ratify the Collaborative rules soon so we can continue to help spouses divorce in a peaceful manner.
Actress Mayim Bialik Opens Up About Children And Divorce
Actress and mom, Mayim Bialik opened up in her latest YouTube video about her divorce and the approach she and her ex-husband have taken to raising their children. It is one of peace and teamwork to give their children the opportunities and family life they deserve. The Collaborative Process can allow families to set their own rules when it comes to child custody and the approach they take at co-parenting.
What do you do as a Collaborative Neutral when your Collaborative case totally comes apart except for the attorneys struggling mightily to keep their clients from exiting the Process? To make things worse, the attorneys won’t talk to each other, and trust, at any level, has left the room. Many might think it’s time to pull the plug as the Process has failed, but that would be a disservice to our clients and what we agreed to do in the Participation Agreement. Ultimately, as Collaborative professionals, it should be our duty to do everything possible to help our clients achieve resolution without litigation.
The Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals Annual Conference titled “Synergy of the Team” just concluded. We learned a lot about the team concept and the value of the team approach to the Collaborative Process. It is truly the reason that the Process works.
Sometimes the team just can’t be a team, which often occurs when one of the lawyers has a difficult client. Whether it is a client not being Collaborative, a client being passive, or a client who just doesn’t get it, the effect is the client can control the Process. Even more, sometimes one of the attorneys just doesn’t get the Collaborative Process. This attorney and client relationship is really made up of separate teams — each party and their attorney and the two neutrals (not very Collaborative). However, just because it isn’t very Collaborative doesn’t mean we should abandon our duty.
In cases like these, it becomes the team of the Neutral Mental Health Professional (MHP) and the Neutral Financial Professional (NFP) who must take the reins and gain control of the Process. They must work together to assess the viability of the case and what strategies might best work given the circumstances.
The MHP must work to keep both the attorneys and the parties focused on the reasons we are avoiding litigation and trying to utilize the Collaborative Process. The MHP’s job is to keep everyone as calm as possible while the NFP finishes gathering information and preparing the parties for settlement. It is the neutrals who are meeting with the parties, and they probably have the greatest opportunity to control the climate of the case.
I had a recent case that broke down. Financial discovery and analysis was completed, and the parenting plan was almost finished. Neither party trusted each other, and the attorneys didn’t get along. The husband already consulted litigation Counsel. The MHP and I were able to convince the parties (and their attorneys) that before they left the Process and began litigation, we should try mediation. We knew we had a duty to give it every last shot. We were rewarded with a successful mediation and a resolved dispute.
One of the best reasons for utilizing the Collaborative Process is the creativity that it allows. We often discuss the creativity we can employ in terms of the financial settlement and parenting plan. We use that creativity to try to fashion a settlement that meets everyone’s needs. Creativity can be used in the Process itself. Our duty as Collaborative Professionals is to assist the parties in obtaining a settlement without litigation. We are taught and we promote a Collaborative model by which we achieve our goals. As Collaborative Professionals, we should never be afraid to be creative and do what it takes to reach the ultimate goal of settlement without litigation.