Mary Gay McDaniel MGM Law, P.A.
Collaborative Family Law Help

Pensacola Florida Family Law Blog

What does the collaborative divorce process look like?

Many couples in Florida who wish to divorce are seeking alternatives to the traditional courtroom litigation proceedings that can cost a great deal of money and may result in anger, resentment or other hard feelings between former spouses. You may have heard positive things about collaborative divorce but do not understand what the process specifically entails. 

According to FindLaw, collaborative divorce is a means of alternative dispute resolution. It is similar in some ways to mediation or arbitration, the main difference being that collaborative divorce does not require the involvement of a mediator or other neutral third party. Rather, the only participants in a collaborative divorce are you, your spouse and your respective attorneys, who all come together face to face in a neutral setting for cooperative negotiations.

How can you divide home equity during collaborative divorce?

When you and your former life partner decide to enter into a collaborative divorce arrangement, you are essentially agreeing to work through certain matters in an amicable way to find solutions suitable for both parties. While the process you go through during collaborative divorce typically differs broadly from that of a litigated divorce, there are certain matters most couples must work through, regardless of the type of divorce they pursue. One such matter involves deciding what is going to happen to your shared family home.

When it comes to dividing home equity during a divorce, you and your soon-to-be-former spouse generally have three options available.

Growing apart constructively

It may seem ironic, but one of the best ways to efficiently create a separation agreement for your marriage is probably to come together with your spouse. We believe that the simple act of the participants putting the collective best interests of the family as their first priorities could bring many Florida divorce cases easily and quickly to a conclusion 

At Mary Gay McDaniel MGM law, P.A., our team focuses on seeking out common ground so our clients have the best chance for a mutually advantageous divorce agreement. By the end of the process, our clients usually have a newfound respect for their partners and a positive vision of their futures apart. We believe this is thanks in part to our compassionate, studied approach to collaborative family law.

Children cannot divorce parents

Marriages in Florida can end at any time, and for all sorts of reasons. Despite your best efforts, sometimes you and your spouse cannot work out your differences and divorce becomes the best and healthiest option for everyone involved, including the children of the relationship. However, we at Mary Gay McDaniel MGM Law remind you that while you can divorce your spouse, your children cannot divorce either of their parents. Therefore, you and your spouse must work together to find a way to effectively co-parent in service of your children's best interests.

Collaborative divorce offers an alternative to aggressive and contentious divorce litigation in a courtroom setting. In a collaborative divorce, a mental health facilitator teams up with the divorcing parties and their lawyers, and everyone works together to create fair parenting plans and marital settlements that benefit parents and children alike. 

A look at the gray divorce phenomenon

Thousands of people take their wedding vows every year and commit to stay with their spouses through sickness and in health. Yet more than half of all marriages end in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even marriages that have lasted for 10, 20 and 30 years run the risk of ending in divorce, as people decide to part ways after being united for so long. A trend referred to as the gray divorce phenomenon shows the increased number of people over the age of 60 who are filing for divorce after being married for decades. Why are so many people deciding to terminate their marriages later in life?

In some cases, couples who have built their marriage around their careers and children may find that they no longer have anything in common once they retire and their children move out of the house. Their relationship may seem empty, as they no longer have work and kids to fill their time. Years ago, women were often held in marriage because they were financially dependent on their spouse, and alone were unable to make ends meet. Yet a growing number of women entering the workforce has led many to be financially independent, and no longer stuck in a marriage due to financial issues. When people are unhappy, they may choose to simply leave and start over looking for happiness rather than stay in an unhappy marriage.

Role of adultery in Florida divorces

Adultery is one of the most common reasons for divorce in the United States. However, the reason for divorce can include a variety of factors, including adultery, alcohol abuse, emotional abuse and more. 

Adultery is a primary reason why many Florida marriages end. Many spouses wonder if they need to provide proof of adultery to divorce, but the truth of the matter is that infidelity does not play much of a role in Florida divorces. Some states will always take adultery into consideration when determining alimony and child support, but Florida is not one of them. 

Will the court decide matters of custody for you?

As a divorcing couple in Florida, matters of visitation and child custody are up to you to figure out. However, if you and your ex-spouse can't reach a decision together, then the courts are going to take over and make one for you. Mary Gay McDaniel, P.A., is here to help prevent that.

Making a parenting plan that both of you can agree on is of crucial importance, because no one knows what is best for your child like their parents. A court usually favors joint custody, and will do their best to be an impartial third party. They will attempt to use the knowledge they learn during the case to build a plan that they think will serve the child's best interest. But will it actually do that? No one can know for sure, but unfortunately, the court's word is final.

Is joint custody the best option for you?

Divorcing parents in Florida have a lot of tough decisions to make. Many of them will revolve around your children. How do you want to raise them moving forward? How will you handle matters of child support? Most importantly, what about custody arrangements?

The American Psychology Association, along with numerous other recent studies, argue that joint custody is the way to go. For the longest time, one parent would be given primary custody and the other would have a greatly reduced role in their child's life. They would be unable to make decisions regarding important matters like religion or medical matters. Additionally, they often only see their children a small fraction of the time that the primary custodian gets to see them.

Why should you consider collaborative law?

Floridian couples who are seeking to get a divorce may want to look into collaborative divorce options. Mary Gay McDaniel, P.A., is here to help explain exactly what this option can do for you and why you may benefit from it.

Collaborative divorce law goes directly against what many people expect when they consider matters of divorce. Many people often think of aggressive battles, court cases, and plenty of arguing. However, it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it's better if it isn't, especially if children are involved.

Elements of a successful parenting plan

When Florida parents get a divorce, one of the things they need to consider is how they will successfully co-parent their children. This means they typically need a parenting plan.

When people first sit down to create their parenting plan, it is important for them to remember that every plan looks different. The Huffington Post says that people should generally find a plan that will be best for their family and unique circumstances. In order to see what this plan might look like, it is a good idea to use a calendar so parents can see where they might run into scheduling problems. Additionally, parents usually need to consider how their children's belongings will move from house to house. People may have a greater chance of experiencing success with their parenting plan if they can work out some of these small details early on.

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