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Category: Divorce

Collaborative Divorce for High Net-Worth Families

There are some divorces in which you are able to settle all of the issues quickly and easily, often without attorneys. There are Florida Supreme Court approved forms online with many of the forms you need to complete a divorce, including a form marital settlement agreement, parenting plan, and divorce petitions. In cases where there are disagreements, the disputes can center around children’s issues, financial issues and often both. I believe a process called collaborative law or collaborative divorce is clearly better to resolve children’s issues where possible, versus engaging in a “custody battle” in court – which can be an unpleasant, hostile and destructive process for both the parents and children. I believe the collaborative process is far superior for resolving financial issues as well, especially for high net-worth or high asset value cases. One of the benefits arises from using one neutral financial professional, usually a forensic accountant,

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STALKING, EMOTIONS, DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW

In a recent appeals court decision in Minnesota, the Court decided that the State’s telephone stalking statute was unconstitutional, because it was “facially overbroad”, i.e. because in addition to penalizing conduct which could appropriately be labelled as criminal, it could be read as also penalizing 1st Amendment free speech, protected by the U.S. Constitution. The particular case before the Minnesota Court involved a parent yelling and cursing or being threatening, during telephone calls and voicemail messages for child protection workers and other county employees. The First Amendment issues are of course important – they are relevant also regarding what kinds of things you can post online about businesses or other people, but the issue I wanted to raise here is the importance of not reacting immediately to emotions in a family law case. It’s a fairly old adage, to not react when you’re angry or upset, and that can be

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Non-Competition Clauses and Valuing a Business in a Divorce

One of the significant issues in some divorces is valuing a business operated by one spouse. A business can be a valuable asset, and valuation issues can be complicated and produce a fair amount of dispute. Before getting into non-competition clauses as part of the sale of a business, and how they relate to valuing a business in a divorce, first a more general discuss of business valuations, and particular issues in business valuation relevant for a divorce. General Issues Issues that come up in any business valuation, including those outside of a divorce, can arise in valuing a business as part of a dissolution of marriage. There are the technical, financial factors that go into valuing a business – value of assets, multiples of income, industry data and trends, and other financial and business variables and analyses. In a divorce, one spouse might seek to arrive at a low

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ATTRIBUTIONS OF MADNESS AND BADNESS, AND COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

Although I’m not sure this happens for all divorcing couples, an article in Psychology Today explains that hating your spouse at some point during a divorce is common and normal. Writings out of the Mental Research Institute in California, I believe back in the late 70s/early 80s, described it in terms of “attributions of madness and badness”. When someone does something that causes sufficient distress (these days that can be disagreeing with a social media post), we don’t think very highly of the other person – there must be a problem with them as a human being – a bad person, or “BAD” as a particular person active on social media likes to post; or even more, there is probably something wrong with them. In this context, I find it actually pretty remarkable how facilitators in collaborative law cases (our mental health professionals, or “MHPs”) are able to keep communication

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Don’t Push Each Other to the Limit

A Tampa television station recently reported on parents seeking to relinquish custody of their children, in order to get them mental health services within Florida’s dependency system. Although fights in Florida family courts between parents are more frequently over who gets custody or more time-sharing, rather than parents relinquishing custody, the Tampa story reflects how far parents are pushed sometimes in trying to provide for their children. A parent or any person pushed to their limits will sometimes try almost anything, which raises the question – does the normal process in divorce court fights – accusations, attacks, financial and emotional pressure, make sense as a way to handle family disputes, especially involving children. Although many attorneys and parties in divorce or other family law litigation seek nothing more than to resolve the case reasonably and fairly, the strategy in litigation can often be to pressure the other side from as

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COMMUNICATING THROUGH COLLABORATIVE LAW

An article came out recently listing several apps which can make communication between divorced spouses or separated parents easier, especially communicaton about children’s issues. One of the things I like about the collaborative law process is that it can be a good start for parents with conflict regarding children’s issues to begin communicating differently, to find a way to divorce more amicably, and also avoid some of the ongoing conflict that can come up in family law cases. There are some divorces where the court battles after the divorce continue for years. In addition to the cost and toll on the parents, at some point the conflict can have a negative effect on the children. Collaborative divorce can be a flexible, open process, but it can also be a highly structured process, with a mental health professional (MHP) and two collaboratively trained attorneys there to manage the process – which

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Reasons to Hire a Guardian ad Litem for Your Time-Sharing Case

I’ve written before about the role of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). I want to focus in this post on some of the reasons you might consider seeking appointment of a GAL for your case, and the process for getting a GAL. I’ll use the terms Guardian, Guardian ad Litem and GAL interchangeably here. Your attorney and the other parent’s attorney (or you and the other parent if you’re both unrepresented) can agree on an agreed order appointing a Guardian ad Litem for your time-sharing case, and send the order to the Judge for his or her signature. There are procedures you’ll need to follow if you’re doing this on your own – you can consult with an attorney, and there are usually case managers assigned to give some direction to clients who are representing themselves. If both sides don’t agree to appointment of a GAL, one parent/attorney can file

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How To Talk with Your Spouse About Collaborative Divorce

So you are interested in a collaborative divorce – in keeping the divorce from becoming a fight in court, and believe it is a process that would work for you and your spouse. A next question is whether your spouse is interested in this collaborative approach also. You can find more information about Collaborative Divorce by following that link, and by reading through some of the other posts about this topic on this blog. You can also visit the website for the Collaborative Family Law group in Broward County or Collaborative Family Institute in Dade County. One Option One first step in talking with your spouse about Collaborative Divorce, is to describe Collaborative Divorce as one option for the two of you to consider. You can give your spouse the web site address for the Collaborative Divorce organization in your county  The web site will have information about collaborative divorce,

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Collaborative Divorce – Is a “Paradigm Shift” for You?

Paradigm Shift may sound to you like a phrase a consultant would use – it reminds me a little of a meeting I was in many years ago, when the consultant in the room talked about different community agencies and institutions “interdigitating”. A paradigm shift, though, as part of a collaborative approach to your divorce or other family law case, might be something you’ll want to consider. In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties may be in conflict and angry or hurt, but agree to attempt to reach a resolution that is fair to both sides, rather than one side trying to get as much as they can, at the expense of the other side. The parties recognize and understand that ongoing conflict between the parents can damage the children. Your spouse’s attorney will let you know that he or she understands your position and what you’re saying, versus coming after

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