How We Are Different - Family Law
I have been interested in collaborative law for many years, but up until the past three years my work was primarily contested, adversarial family law litigation. There was lots of conflict. Clients were angry with each other, with ensuing battles in Court. Attorneys were sometimes angry at each other. I kept track of time to bill my client, and there were battles over fees owed by the "other side". Clients almost always needed to worry about the cost of the litigation, with me and the other attorney both billing by the hour (or 1/10 hour increments).
Adversarial litigation culminates in a high stakes and high stress event called a trial, and that type of atmosphere was the background context of everything happening in the case.
I don't think this is at all the best way for families to resolve family law disputes, but ended up deciding to change my practice really for myself, because I didn't much like the process or that work.
My practice now is limited to collaborative law, mediation, and helping clients resolve non-litigated cases. I like the collaborative law process, and believe you would too, as compared to a court battle. As a collaborative attorney, in accordance with the ethical rules of the collaborative law professional associations (the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals and International Academy of Collaborative Professionals), I seek a resolution of a matter which is fair for both clients, and which does not try to take advantage of mistakes or oversights by the other client or their attorney.
It's a much different atmosphere and approach than in litigation where the goal most often is to win; to put the "other side" at as much of a disadvantage, and at risk to the greatest extent possible. You're literally in a fight, a battle, that can last for years until a final judgment; and then sometime for years after the initial case is finished.
Your experience when contacting me and working with my firm will be a bit different perhaps than what you would experience at other firms. Because our focus will not be on an upcoming battle, our initial consultation will not be about how to combat and prevail over the other spouse or parent. Our initial consultation will focus on discussing your options for getting divorced or resolving your other family law case - the how, which in some ways is one of the most important decisions for whole matter.
Options are, negotiations with the other spouse or their attorney; mediation, a process called collaborative law, or litigation. We'll focus on how to get a fair result for you, and what is in the best interests of your child or children if you have children. If your situation requires litigation, there are attorneys in the community I can recommend for you if you would like names.
For collaborative law matters, we will arrive at a flat fee for the case - you'll know the fee in advance. For mediation I still bill by the hour, because some matters, even when there is a high value of assets, can be resolved pretty quickly; but for mediation you'll pay for each session. You won't be surprised by a big bill at end of the month.
Another area of my practice is estate planning and trusts and estates. We use trusts sometimes in family law matters as a way to secure payment of alimony or child support, and assets in multiple trusts are often a significant portion of the assets in a divorce. Sometimes disputes regarding an asset are resolved by placing the asset in trust, for the benefit of children.
You can visit our Firm Story and How We Are Different for family law pages to learn more about that portion of my work. I find that that expertise in the area of estate planning and trusts is of value in family law matters - those issue can arise in a divorce in a number of different ways.
Call me at (954) 636-7498 and we can discuss your divorce or other family law matter, and the option for move forward that is best for you.