What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial process, conducted outside of the court system, in which each party, who has his/her own collaboratively trained attorney, is guided in interest-based negotiations, to reach a fair and equitable agreement.

This process begins when each party retains a collaborative attorney and signs a written commitment to this process; that they will not to go to court, but they commit to resolving their family matter(s) outside of the court in planned meetings with collaborative professionals, where the parties are empowered to make informed choices after having all essential information and reviewing all potential reasonable options for resolution.

Conflict Resolution agreement

There are four basic steps in the collaborative process that are guided by professionals trained, experienced and skilled in the collaborative process:

  • The voluntary exchange of all relevant information
  • Identification of each party’s interests and goals (including child-related)
  • Consideration of all viable and available options (yes, brain-storming and generating ideas, even “outside of the box” ideas)
  • Assessment of options, to reach full agreement

The process ends when the parties have made their own decisions and reach a full agreement. The written agreement and related court-required filings are prepared and filed (often e-filed) with the court. A hearing is held, which may be a private hearing with a private judge, and a final court decree is signed and filed.

Should You be Interested In Collaborative Divorce? Yes, if you want to:

  • put your children first
  • protect your children from the effects of a high conflict, contested divorce
  • obtain the best parenting plan for you and your children
  • obtain the best overall resolution for you and your family
  • have a win-win solution and avoid a win-lose outcome
  • tailor the outcome of your case to your family circumstances and needs
  • keep your finances and other personal information as private as possible
  • spend less money and time than you would were you in a contested divorce
  • be fair and want your spouse to know you are going to be fair
  • control the outcome of the case, rather than having a court make decisions
  • focus on the future, rather than the past; focus on the positives and not negatives
  • use your financial, emotional, and time resources in the most positive way
  • benefit from the training, skill and experience of collaborative professionals who are dedicated to this process and know how to work with and for you, and who know how to work appropriately with each other for your benefit, to make this process successful for you and your family
  • have difficult conversations in emotionally safe planned joint meetings where communications are respectful and each party is heard and respected.
  • not spend your time, money and emotions preparing for trial and going to court

What is mediation?

Intervention is a route for individuals who are having a dispute to discuss their issues and concerns and to settle on choices about the dispute with the assistance of someone else (a mediator). A mediator isn't permitted to choose who is correct or wrong or to force you how to resolve your dispute. In mediation, you endeavor to discover arrangements that sound good to you and the other individual in the dispute to resolve some or all of your worries.

There may be feelings that behind the dispute which can make negotiating with the dispute difficult. A mediator can help you facilitate communication. The mediator is there as an impartial individual to enable you to concentrate on explaining your dispute; be that as it may, the mediator is not meant to provide therapy, counseling, or legal advice.

Conflict Resolution agreement

What are the advantages of mediation?

Fair and Impartial: Mediation gives a chance to chat with somebody who is fair and impartial.

  • You Make the Decisions: The issues in your dispute are not chosen by another person; they’re decided by you. The mediator facilitates the discussion, but cannot make any decisions for you. If you go to court you gamble with the outcome of the judge or jury’s decisions.
  • Private: What you say in mediation is private. If you testify in open court the matters become public record.
  • Enforceable: Mediation agreements are enforceable. The agreement is signed by both parties and is enforceable by the courts.
  • Flexible:Mediation allows for flexible solutions. If you settle a dispute in court, the decision may be rigid and one-sided. Mediated decisions are usually more of a “win-win” for both parties.
  • Cheaper: Mediation can eliminate the need for a trial. If the mediation results in an amenable agreement between parties, there may be no need to go to court at all. This saves a lot of money as mediation is always cheaper than court-settled disputes.
  • Quicker: Mediation is quicker and less stressful than court. Often disputes can be settled in a single session.

Mediator Nicole Benjamin

Attorney Nicole Benjamin

Attorney Benjamin’s experience in mediation helps make the experience easy. The firm has multiple conference rooms for mediation depending on the number of people involved. The office is equipped with teleconferencing video equipment when one party resides at a distance, so they can be present, seen, and participate in any mediation proceedings. Contact the Benjamin Law Firm to arrange mediation for your own family needs.

NICOLE BENJAMIN

Attorney Nicole Benjamin was born in Pensacola, Florida and graduated from Florida State University where she received her Bachelors degree in Criminology. In 2001 she received her Juris Doctorate from Shepherd Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University, located in Plantation, FL.

While in law school she gained tremendous experience working in commercial litigation, personal injury, transactional, and labor and employment firms as an intern. She also served on several committees of Sports and Entertainment, Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Blue Ribbon Scholar Committee, and as Vice President of Black Law Student Association.

After graduating from Shepherd Broad Law Center, Ms. Benjamin was employed by a Personal Injury Firm located in Atlanta, GA while studying for the Florida Bar. Being a true Florida Native, upon being sworn in to practice (FL Bar Number 528293), she relocated to Orlando, FL to start at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office as an Assistant Public Defender. Anxious to expand her experience to encompass many areas of civil litigation, divorces, custody, domestic violence she began her own law firm. Ms. Benjamin has several years of family law litigation experience. She has tried contested matters involving issues such as domestic violence, child custody, child support, alimony, equitable division of marital property, and contempt actions.

It has always been her goal to have a practice that focuses on the issues of the clients, where the client can be comfortable knowing that the relationship established with this office will be respected and handled with integrity. She has hands on experience managing family matters, personal injury claims, criminal defense cases, civil litigation and transactional matters such as contract drafting as having handled hundreds of cases in criminal, personal injury, and family law. She is also certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a mediator for family disputes.

Attorney Nicole Benjamin

Family Law

Dealing with issues surrounding something as important as your family can be extremely difficult. It is during times like these that if an attorney is needed, you obtain representation that will be cognizant of your feelings as well as your goal in resolving the outstanding matters. Attorney Benjamin has handled several family matters and respects the seriousness of the issues surrounding these matters. She handles dissolution of marriage, child support, modifications, visitation, and contempt matters.

Family Law

Criminal Law

If you are accused of a crime, you need an experienced attorney dedicated to handling the case for you . Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a difference in how your matter is handled and how your rights are protected. Attorney Benjamin handles misdemeanor, violation of probation, expungement, juvenile, felony and injunction cases.

Criminal Law

Personal Injury

The firm also specializes in injury and negligent cases. Attorney Benjamin has vast experience in handling motor vehicle accidents, dog bite cases; premises liability; negligent security; and wrongful death cases. The goal of this firm is to always get the client what they are entitled and keep them informed at all times. Going through a loss resulting from injury is difficult for the individual and the family. Attorney Benjamin focuses on keeping the client informed and assisting with making this process easier for client.

Personal Injury

Immigration

Whatever your immigration status or goals may be, our law office is the one you can trust. Our services cover everything from family visas to deportation or asylum. Immigration law is complicated, our law firm takes the time to give you the personal attention you need to understand the proceedings. Attorney Benjamin offers specialized attention to make sure that the legal matters are handled in an appropriate manner.

Immigration

Probate and Estate Planning

Probate is something most people want to avoid at all times but especially after loss of a loved one. Attorney Benjamin can help you navigate the probate court and reduce the chances of litigation. No estate is too small nor too big and all cases receive the same personal and professional attention. Estate planning can help you avoid probate. It’s a misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Estate planning is for anyone who wants tp preserve wealth for their heirs.

Probate and Estate Planning