We got the pleasure of interviewing South Florida Family Law Attorney, Carolann Mazza on Collaborative Divorce, a topic she is most passionate about. Unlike divorces that go through the courts, a collaborative divorce can prevent a family from fracturing under the stress and weight of divorce. Carolann shares that Stu Webb created the idea of the collaborative divorce in the 1980’s as an alternative to litigation.
Why would you select collaborative divorce? Collaborative divorce differs from a litigated divorce (the default option for divorce) in that all decisions are made by the judge, someone who is in essence, a stranger to the family and most importantly the children in the family. A litigated divorce goes through the court, whereas in a collaborative divorce, the couple agrees to stay out of the court by signing a participation agreement. This can be so empowering to the couple as they decide the way to move forward with their family’s best interests. Additionally, each individual and his or her lawyer sit down and work together to come to a mutual agreement about the future.
A big benefit of collaborative divorce is the level of autonomy afforded to couples, as the couple decides how to proceed with the divorce. Sometimes, laws can be limited, too general, and do not apply to every situation and it. A great way to honor the couple itself is to even consider including verbiage about choosing collaborative divorce in a prenuptial agreement (watch our episode on Prenuptial agreements). One thing Carolann recommends, whether you’re deciding to go through litigation or a collaborative divorce, is to make sure that you have a divorce lawyer and while it may be tempting to represent yourself and stay out of court, a lawyer will advocate for your best interests.
If you’d like to learn more about the collaborative divorce process, Carolann can be reached at www.collaborativenow.com. If you’re looking for a collaborative lawyer in a specific area, Carolann recommends the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and you can search for a professional in your area. Remember to check with an attorney in your state for state specific laws, rules, and regulations around family law.