Collaborative Family Law


What Is It?

Collaborative family law is a structured, client-centered, out-of-court process for couples embarking on a divorce, paternity, prenuptial, or other family law issue.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo by Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s in it for the client?

  • Privacy, confidentiality, mutual respect and dignity.
  • Surprises to a minimum. Meetings, with defined agendas, are coordinated in advance.
  • Your team is fully invested in settlement, committing to an out-of-court resolution.
  • Often much faster and more cost-efficient than the traditional court system model.
  • Clients control outcomes, not a judge.
  • You are empowered to make the best decisions for your family long term.
  • A child-centered process, minimizing disruption and trauma if you have children.
  • Development of support resources, coping strategies and communication skills.

Who is doing Collaborative Family Law in SWFL?

The Collaborative Professionals of SWFL is comprised of the best legal, financial and mental health professionals in this area. Website: CollaborativePros.com

How do you start?

  • First, you each hire a collaboratively-trained attorney.
  • These two attorneys then help you select the two neutral team members:
    • Mental Health Neutral: Identifies conflict resolution styles, facilitates communication, helps set the agendas, handles emotion as it comes up in the room.
    • Financial Neutral -Assists the team with comprehensive financial information gathering, equitable division of assets and liabilities, tax consequences and budgeting. Your partner, who may not hear it from you, is often more accepting when hearing about financial realities from a financial neutral.
  • Roadmap: Through a series of structured meetings, the team assists the participants in:
    • Setting goals;
    • Gathering information;
    • Developing options; and,
    • Achieving durable agreements.

For more information on the COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW process, our web page is AttorneyGrossman.com/collaborative-divorce.html

Contact us: email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?


Florida grandparents’ rights


Florida is known for its large population of grandparents. Southwest Florida continues to attract more and more retirees to the area. We get many calls from concerned grandparents who are interested in securing visitation with their grandchildren for one reason or another. Florida has limits on when grandparents can be granted court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren.

Grandpa and kid

                                          Photo by photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As of July 1, 2015, revisions to the Florida Statute pertaining to grandparent visitation are in effect. While these revisions are a drastic change from what was previously in place, it does expand the definition of a grandparent and sets forth less restrictive language pertaining to their rights to petition for visitation. The statute applies to great-grandparents as well as grandparents. Grandparents are allowed to file Petitions for Visitation if the parents of the grandchild are deceased, missing or in a persistent vegetative state. They may also request visitation if the one parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and the other parent has been convicted of a felony or an offense of violent behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or welfare.

Grandparents must still prove parental unfitness or significant harm to the child before the court will enter an order granting the requesting timesharing. This can be a daunting hurdle. As in other family law matters the courts are assessing under the best interest of the child standard. The statute lays out several factors that the court shall consider in reaching its ultimate ruling. Some of these factors include the length and quality of the previous relationship between the minor child and the grandparent and the reasons cited by the responding parent as to why he/she ended contact or visitation between the minor child and the grandparent.

Each case has its own set of facts. If you are interested in seeking visitation with your grandchild schedule a consultation and we can discuss the facts specific to your situation and options that you can consider.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?


Does adultery matter in a divorce in Florida?


Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which allows either spouse to seek a divorce without having to prove any reason for it except that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that the Florida Courts are not going to be compelled to determine which spouse is the “cause” of the divorce. This doesn’t mean that the reasons you are seeking a divorce are insignificant.

Photo by t0zz on freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by t0zz on freedigitalphotos.net

Each divorcing couple has their own individual story that brought them to the point where they are contacting our office. Marriages are broken by infidelity, substance abuse, financial disputes, lack of communication, and simply growing apart, to name a few causes. Clients often raise the issue of their spouse’s infidelity and are curious to know how that might impact the outcome of the divorce. While adultery isn’t a factor in the court’s decision as to whether it can grant a divorce, it can play a role in the determination of alimony, the parenting plan, and even property distribution.

The Florida Statute pertaining to alimony lists adultery as a factor that the court MAY consider in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. Adultery is not the only factor listed in the Statute. Just because one or both of the spouses were unfaithful during the marriage doesn’t mean that alimony will absolutely be ordered or not ordered.

A parent’s unfaithfulness can be a factor the court considers when ordering a parenting plan. The Statute lists moral fitness as one of the factors it considered in devising a parenting plan, which includes parental decision making and timesharing arrangement. If a parent proves the unfaithful parent’s actions negatively affected the child(ren), the court will weigh this evidence with other evidence admitted in finalizing a parenting plan order.

If a divorcing spouse can prove that the other spouse was intentionally dissipating or wasting marital assets on their girlfriend or boyfriend, such as buying expensive gifts, trips, or alternate residence, it may be appropriate to reduce the cheating spouse’s share of the marital assets in order to account for the wasted funds. An extensive amount of discovery would need to be completed to collect evidence to prove the adulterer was dissipating marital assets.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?


Do mediation and “do-it-yourself” divorces lead to “successful” divorces?


The numbers don’t lie, divorce is as popular as ever in the United States. Over 50% of first marriages and 70% of second marriages end in divorce. But are these divorces “successful?” In other words, are both parties satisfied with the settlement, was their little damage to the relationship, and did the process cost little money? As couples weigh their divorce route options many are turning to mediation or “do-it-yourself” pro se divorces. For many divorcing couples, the financial cost of getting a divorce is the greatest concern, and by choosing to represent themselves or proceed through mediation, they hope to keep the cost down and avoid the animosity that can surround litigation.

Photo by David Castillo Dominici on www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by David Castillo Dominici on freedigitalphotos.net

A recent survey shows that in certain areas mediation and pro se divorces may not be having much more success than traditional litigation in certain areas. The survey conducted by Wentworth Divorce Financial Advisors, suggests that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to financial awareness in the divorce process.

Couples that chose to litigate their divorce proceedings reported they were the most unprepared when it came time to negotiating their financials. A whopping 45 percent of those surveyed, as a matter of fact. Mediating couples were not far behind, with 40 percent in the survey not ready to talk money. “Do-it-yourselfers” faired only slightly better, at 31 percent.

Depending on the case, we often recommend that our client consult with a trusted financial advisor who is familiar with the divorce process and who can provide some professional insight into the client’s future financial status after the divorce is resolved. The financial expert can review property distribution scenarios and help predict how the proposed settlements may impact the client’s financial security.

Having a “successful” divorce can make things much easier as you move forward. Make sure you work to avoid being a part of these staggering statistics. A qualified attorney/mediator can help you avoid the pitfalls of the divorce process and make sure you reach an equitable financial settlement with your ex-spouse.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email Keith@AttorneyGrossman.com, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?