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Florida collaborative dissolution forms

Florida’s Collaborative Divorce Forms

In 2020, the Supreme Court of Florida adopted collaborative divorce forms. See Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Forms 12.985(a)-(g). These forms are for couples like you who may be considering the collaborative process for your divorce. The forms generally… ...
Collaborative FAQs White Dove in Hands. How You Divorce Has Consequences

FAQs Florida Collaborative Divorce

Frequently asked questions regarding Florida Collaborative Divorce. ...
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Harness Collaborative Contract Power!

By Michael P. Sampson A Climate of Positive Energy Valentine’s Day 1990. The founder of the Collaborative movement, Stuart G. Webb, writes to the Honorable A.M. “Sandy” Keith, Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mr. Webb’s love interest? A power… ...
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Collaborative Family Law: Florida Favors Settlement Agreements

Florida favors settlement agreements of family law disputes. Parents may agree to take on obligations based on future events. That’s true even if a court otherwise couldn’t impose those obligations. This power parents have in collaborative divorce to make agreements… ...
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Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA) in the US

Please see the statewide chart of enactment of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (UCLA), with links to state laws. On August 16, 2021, New Hampshire became the 21st state (plus the District of Columbia) to adopt the Uniform Collaborative Law… ...
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Florida Parenting Plan Basics: Collaborative Family Law

What is a Parenting Plan? In Florida, a ‘Parenting Plan’ governs the relationship between parents “relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child.” Section 61.046(14), Florida Statutes. See CN  v. IGC, 316 So. 3d 287 (Fla. 2021).  A court’s authority… ...
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Defenses to Child Abduction Claims: Hague Convention

What are the six defenses to child abduction claims under the Hague Convention? A parent who moves with a child from the child’s home country to another country, or retains the child in the other country, may face accusations that… ...
Parent Daughter Florida Income Deduction Orders

Florida Income Deduction Orders

On December 5, 2019, the Florida Supreme Court amended the form for income deduction orders. Florida Family Law Form 12.996(a). ...

Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules

The Supreme Court of Florida amended the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court-Appointed Parenting Coordinators (“Parenting Coordinator Rules”). See In Re: Amendments to the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court-Appointed Parenting Coordinators, Case No. SC20-942 (Fla. December 2, 2021). Summary of… ...
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Update Florida Beneficiary Designations After Divorce

What happens to your beneficiary designations of your spouse when you divorce? With few exceptions, when you divorce in Florida, provisions of your will that “affect” your ex are void, under section 732.507(2), Florida Statutes. Effective July 1, 2021, it… ...
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Remind Divorced Employees to Update Beneficiary Designations

Employers: think about reminding your employees to update their beneficiary designations after divorce. For multiple covered assets, section 732.703, Florida Statutes voids upon divorce beneficiary designations of an ex-spouse. See State Farm Life Insurance Company v. Stone, Case No. 5:15-cv-267-Oc-30PRL (MD… ...
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Divorce and Beneficiary Designations — Florida Statutes §732.703

Introduction  How does divorce affect your beneficiary designation of your ex when you die?  Multiple assets covered under Florida’s automatic revocation statute, Section 732.703, Florida Statutes, pass as if your surviving ex-spouse died first. How it Plays Out: Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations… ...
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Collaborative Parenting Plans: A Child’s Prospective Best Interests

Collaborative Parenting Plans in Florida divorce or paternity cases may address your child’s future best interests in ways Florida family judges can’t.  Judges are not prophets: A judge has no crystal ball to see how future events might affect your… ...
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Collaborative Family Law Agreements: A Child’s Future Best Interests

Judges Must Make Decisions About Children’s Best Interests Based On Present Facts, Not Future Best Interests. Judges must decide parenting issues based on your child’s best interests as of the final hearing, not on your child’s future best interests. A… ...
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Florida Parenting Plans & Events Reasonably Certain to Occur

When Can a Judge Look Ahead? When ordering a parenting plan in a Florida divorce or paternity action, the judge generally must stick to the present. The judge must make determinations based on findings about your child’s present best interests.… ...
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Children’s Best Interests: Parenting Plans Entail Prediction

Parenting plans govern parents’ future conduct in relationship towards each other and towards their children.  These relationships comprise regular and holiday timesharing schedules, decision making about major events in a child’s life, and communications. Parents and judges necessarily look ahead to… ...
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Collaborative Parenting Plans: Extraordinary Burden for Modification

In Florida, parents face an extraordinary burden for modification of a parenting plan. This burden is called the “substantial change in circumstances” test. The test for modification applies unless the initial final judgment provides otherwise. In Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So.2d… ...
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Collaborative Parenting Plans: Judges Must Safeguard Children

When considering parents’ agreements, judges must safeguard children. A court isn’t bound by parents’ agreements regarding child support, custody, or visitation. Feliciano v. Feliciano, 674 So. 2d 937 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996); see also Yitzhari v. Yitzhari, 906 So. 2d 1250, 1257 n. 4 (Fla.… ...
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Anticipating Events Reasonably Certain to Occur: Collaborative Parenting Plans

Parents in Florida divorce and paternity cases may anticipate and plan for events reasonably certain to occur in their children’s lives. They may enter into parenting agreements that flexibly adjust provisions when predicted and planned for events take place. Case… ...
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Enlist Court Review When Events Occur: Collaborative Parenting Plans

A court has an ongoing obligation to safeguard minor children’s best interests. Collaborating parents may agree to enlist court review to approve modifications when events they anticipated in their parenting plans occur. Parents’ attempts to trigger automatic modifications for uncertain… ...
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Resolve Future Impasses: Collaborative Parenting Plans

Many parents agree to resolve privately future impasses if they can’t agree on decisions for their children. Parents who choose the collaborative process appreciate court fighting can be costly and drawn out. These concerns apply equally for initial proceedings and… ...
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Contingencies Parents Build into their Parenting Plans in Florida Divorces

Can parents build contingencies in parenting plans for future events? For events you anticipate that are reasonably certain to occur, can you build automatic modifications into your parenting plan? CN v. IGC: Leaves Open Question of Whether Agreed On Contingencies… ...
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Agreeing to a Different Burden for Modification: Florida Parenting Plans 

You may agree your judgment will provide for a different burden for modification than the substantial change in circumstances test. Read more about that extraordinary burden here. Authorizing Agreements to a Different Burden for Modification than the Onerous Substantial Change… ...
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Beneficiary Designations Checklist for Collaborative Teams

This Beneficiary Designations Checklist for collaborative teams can help couples develop options for beneficiary designations after divorce. Collaborative Practice teams may use the checklist when one spouse may want the other named as beneficiary of insurance policies, annuities, accounts, or… ...
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Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreements: Insurance Policies

On divorce, Florida law automatically revokes beneficiary designations under insurance policies in favor of an ex-spouse. But you and your spouse may say in your collaborative marital settlement agreement you intend to designate one or the other as beneficiary. Otherwise,… ...

Automatic Revocation of Will Provisions that Affect an Ex-Spouse

Spouses should know Florida Statutes automatically revokes certain will provisions upon a final judgment of dissolution or annulment.  Florida’s automatic revocation on divorce statute section 732.507(2), Florida Statutes may void provisions of a will that “affect” a former spouse. After… ...
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Collaborative Marital Agreements — Beneficiary Designations After Divorce

Florida law revokes on divorce beneficiary designations that “affect” an ex-spouse.  For more, read here, here and here. Therefore, to avoid automatic revocation of beneficiary designations on divorce, Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreements should address interests in: assets subject to beneficiary designations… ...

Parenting Plans – Consent to Child’s Mental Health Treatment

How do parenting plans provide for consent to mental health treatment for a child?  What does “mental health treatment” even mean and include?  Further, what if parents don’t agree on mental health treatment their child should continue, undertake, or stop?… ...

Parental Responsibility & Decision Making

Parents in Florida divorce and paternity cases decide if they will share parental responsibility and decision making for their child. Therefore, they must agree to a “Parenting Plan” or have a judge decide on a plan.  In collaborative practice, parents… ...
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Shared Parental Responsibility and Sole Parental Responsibility

Parents who “share parental responsibility” retain full parental rights and responsibilities for their child. This means both parents confer with each other to make decisions for their child. See Section 61.046(17), Florida Statutes. In sharing responsibility for decisions, parents generally must… ...
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Shared Parenting – Retained Consent to Mental Health Treatment

Florida law treats consent to a child’s “mental health treatment” differently from other shared major parental decisions.   In 2016, Florida law changed to mandate certain provisions in parenting plans. See Laws of Florida 2016-241. Most parenting plans say parents will share… ...

Florida Law: Each Parent Retains Consent to Mental Health Treatment

In 2016, Florida law changed to mandate, in parenting plans designating shared parental responsibility, that either parent retains consent to their child’s mental health treatment. See Section 61.13(2)(b)3., Florida Statutes, amended by Laws of Florida 2016-241.  Analysis of the final… ...
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Collaborative Practice: Shared Parental Responsibility for Health Care

How do courts in Florida handle shared parental responsibility over a child’s health care? Florida family judges must determine parenting matters according to the child’s best interests and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.   Exception to Best… ...
Depressed teenager with head in hands. Florida Collaborative Practice: Clarifying Parents’ Intent About “Mental Health Treatment”

Collaborative Process: Clarifying Intent About “Mental Health Treatment”

Florida’s divorce and paternity statutes don’t define “mental health treatment.” When they’re sharing parental responsibility, each parent retains parental consent to mental health treatment. However, by clarifying and agreeing to the scope of “mental health treatment” for their child, parents… ...

What Is “Mental Health Treatment”?

Florida law provides either parent may consent to their child’s mental health treatment. But, what is “mental health treatment? Are there definitions of “mental health treatment” that may guide divorcing parents? The answer is there are definitions of “mental health… ...

Language – “Mental Health Treatment”

Parents in the Collaborative Process may consider using definitions of “mental health treatment.” This article give example language using definitions. For more about definitions, read the discussion here. Example Language- Mental Health Treatment For our Parenting Plan, “Mental Health Treatment”… ...

Informed Consent By One Parent – Florida Mental Health Professionals

When Florida parents divorce and share parental responsibility, either may consent to mental health treatment for a child. Therefore, mental health treatment providers generally may accept informed consent by only one parent to mental health treatment.  Informed Consent by One… ...
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Florida Mental Health Providers & Informed Consent

This post summarizes Florida mental health informed consent rules for mental health providers.  Florida parents who divorce typically share parental responsibility. When they do, either may consent to mental health treatment for a child. Each parent remains their child’s natural… ...

What If Parents Disagree About Child’s Mental Health Treatment?

One parent disagrees with the other parent’s consenting to mental health treatment for their child. They share parental responsibility, so each parent retains consent to. mental health treatment.  To move forward, the parents may often face costly, time consuming, and… ...
Lighthouse Water Corporation or Trust Challenges to Service of Process or Jurisdiction.

Corporation or Trust Challenges to Service of Process and Jurisdiction

By Michael P. Sampson (part 1 of 8)   What corporation or trust challenges to service of process or jurisdiction are available to get out of a Florida divorce case? This series discusses corporation or trust challenges to service of process… ...
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Challenge to Service of Process in Florida Divorce

By Michael P. Sampson (part 2 of 8) Service of Process – Effective Service is Required A corporation or trust a spouse names in a Florida divorce may first consider a challenge to service of process. Through effective service of… ...
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Family Law Pleadings: Allege Personal Jurisdiction

By Michael P. Sampson (part 3 of 8) For the Florida court to adjudicate claims against the corporation or trust, does the family law pleading allege personal jurisdiction over the entity? If service of process on an entity is sufficient… ...
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Long-Arm Statute or Alter Ego? Personal Jurisdiction Over Corporation in Florida Divorce

By Michael P. Sampson (part 4 of 8) A spouse may attempt to bring in a corporate entity or trust into the divorce either under the Florida Long-Arm Statute or on an alter-ego theory. To pull in the foreign corporation… ...

Long-Arm Jurisdiction: Specific or General?

By Michael P. Sampson (part 5 of 8) First Prong: Is Personal Jurisdiction Over the Corporation or Entity Appropriate Under Florida’s Long Arm Statute? The first prong of the two-pronged test for bringing a foreign corporation or trust into a… ...
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Alter Ego Basis for Jurisdiction in Florida Family Law Action

By Michael P. Sampson (part 6 of 8) Alter Ego Basis for Jurisdiction: Piercing the Corporate Veil The two-step process for establishing long arm jurisdiction does not apply when a spouse is traveling under a different theory: the alter ego… ...
Five Monopoly Hotels

Jurisdiction Over Property at Issue in Florida Divorce

By Michael P. Sampson (part 7 of 8) In Rem Jurisdiction Over Property Located in County Where Florida Divorce Is Pending If property at issue in a divorce case is within the court’s jurisdictional boundaries, it doesn’t matter if the… ...
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Sworn Affidavits to Support Challenges to Jurisdiction in Florida Divorce

By Michael P. Sampson (part 8 of 8) Sworn Affidavits: Important to Be Prepared! An entity drawn into a family law dispute typically must assemble sworn affidavits to support challenges to service of process or personal jurisdiction or both. See Fishman, Inc.… ...
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Domestic Partnership Agreements: FAQs

This final installment of a 7-part series about domestic partnership agreements answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about them. Using the Collaborative Process for Negotiating a Domestic Partnership Agreement The Collaborative Process can assist a couple with negotiating a domestic partnership agreement.  A… ...

Domestic Partnership Agreements: Financial Disclosures

This sixth installment of a 7-part series about Domestic Partnership Agreements discusses financial disclosures and privacy. To avoid later attack on the domestic partnership agreement, the partners should make fair and reasonable financial disclosures to each other. Disclosures to Consider For… ...

Survivor’s Rights on Domestic Partner’s Death

This fifth installment of a 7-part series about Domestic Partnership Agreements discusses survivor’s rights on death. Florida law provides for survivor’s rights if a married person dies before the other spouse and they have no premarital or postnuptial agreement.  But… ...

Domestic Partnership Agreements: The Home and Joint Expenses

This second installment of a 7-part series about domestic partnership agreements discusses the home and joint expenses.  Partners Acquiring a Home Together Two people may acquire a home together. They may contribute different amounts to the purchase price. During their relationship,… ...

Domestic Partnership Agreements: Overview

This first installment of a 7-part series gives an overview of  domestic partnership agreements. Married and Unmarried Committed Couples Many couples who could not legally marry now can. In Obergefell v. Hodges, The United States Supreme Court described the fundamental right… ...

Domestic Partners: Support When the Relationship Ends

This fourth installment of a 7-part series about Domestic Partnership Agreements discusses support when the couple’s relationship ends. Florida law generally provides, when there is no premarital agreement, a spouse’s right to alimony on divorce depends on the spouse’s need… ...

Collaborative Divorce – Rule 4-1.19

This article discusses Florida’s ethical rule for the collaborative law process in family law matters, including collaborative divorce. Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act, section 61.56, Florida Statutes, took effect July 1, 2017. On May 18, 2017, the Supreme Court of… ...
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Custody of Children by Extended Family Member Including Fictive Kin

An “extended family member” may ask the court for “temporary” or “concurrent” custody of a child. Custody of a child is “temporary” if the award excludes the parents. It’s “concurrent” if the extended family member shares custody with the parents.… ...

Florida’s Collaborative Law System

Florida’s collaborative law system for collaborative divorce has four parts: a statute, a family law rule of procedure, an ethical rule, and Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms. Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act, section 61.56, Florida Statutes, took effect… ...

Florida’s Collaborative Process Forms

On October 15, 2020 (updated November 12, 2020), the Supreme Court of Florida approved Florida collaborative law process forms. See docket in IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA FAMILY LAW RULES OF PROCEDURE – FORMS 12.985 (a)-(g) (COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS),… ...

Why Jeff Bezos should have gotten a prenup & why you should too

By: Hanna Horvath, Policygenius The richest couple in the world is a couple no more. What is a prenup? Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the richest man in the world, announced he and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting… ...
Aerial view of houses. Separate Property and Jointly Acquired Property by Domestic Partners

Domestic Partnership Agreements: Separate and Joint Property

This third installment of a 7-part series about Domestic Partnership Agreements discusses separate and joint property. Separately-Acquired and Jointly-Acquired Property Domestic partnership agreements should list or include an attached schedule of each party’s separate property. If the parties agree, the agreement… ...

Florida Collaborative Law Process Act, §61.55 – 61.58, Florida Statutes

PART III, CHAPTER 61, FLORIDA STATUTES COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS ACT 61.55 Purpose. 61.56 Definitions. 61.57 Beginning, concluding, and terminating a collaborative law process. 61.58 Confidentiality of a collaborative law communication. 61.55 Purpose.—The purpose of this part is to create a uniform system of practice for… ...

Florida Collaborative Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.745

RULE 12.745. COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS(a) Application. This rule governs all proceedings under chapter 61, part III, Florida Statutes. (b) Collaborative Law Process. (1) Initiating Process. (A) A collaborative law process begins, regardless of whether a legal proceeding is pending, when… ...

Collaborative Divorce: Dividing Retirement Accounts

The Challenge: In collaborative divorce, dividing retirement accounts can be tricky.  Collaborative teams, usually with a neutral collaborative financial professional’s help, must often figure out premarital and marital components of retirement assets.  How might the collaborative team approach the challenge?… ...

Second Parent Adoption – Florida Reinstates Same Sex Adoption

In the Matter of the Adoption of D.P.P., 158 So. 3d 633 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014), the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed an order vacating a second parent adoption. Trial Court Undoes Same Sex Adoption The trial court terminated… ...

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