Collaborative Divorce Law Movement Is Gaining in Popularity

Years after the practice began in Florida, four years after it was ensconced in state law, and three years after accommodations were made in procedural and Bar rules, the use of collaborative law is growing with local associations supporting its legal, mental health, and financial practitioners.

There’s also a statewide organization, as well as national and international associations to help those practitioners as they expect collaborative practices to reach beyond family law cases.

“I think…it’s unique,” said Marta Alfonso, a CPA, who is also a Bar member and the treasurer of the statewide Florida Association of Collaborative Professionals. “There are some other cooperative cases, but to bring together four professionals in this type of an instance, it’s pretty unique.

“It requires a training and understanding and a change in mindset. Could it be done with other disciplines of the law? It’s certainly a model to look at and consider.”

Miami attorney Robert Merlin, who is president-elect of the FACP and a long-time collaborative practitioner, said there are now local through international associations supporting collaborative law. With that support, he’s seen collaborative practices expanded to other cases, including probate and even wrongful death.

There are around 17 local organizations in Florida with lawyer, mental health, and financial professionals as members, Merlin said, such as the Florida Collaborative Family Law Institute in Miami-Dade County.

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