A push by the American Bar Association – arising from their recent "Families Matter" symposium – seeks to collaboratively create an alternative system of conflict resolution for couples involved in custody disputes. Family law attorneys from around the nation gathered to flesh out a plan to revolutionize the process of resolving family law issues, particularly those relating to divorces, custody battles and relocations.
Why Is Change Needed?
At present, even relatively simple divorces or other family court matters can easily take a year to resolve and cost parties thousands of dollars in legal fees. Hotly disputed and contentious matters regularly take several years to settle and involve many trips to the courtroom. By the time any sense of closure is reached, court costs and legal expenses can be in the six-figure range. Lives can be turned completely upside-down – parties in these adversarial cases find every aspect of their home, personal and professional lives affected, leading to lost relationships, poor work performance and financial ruin.
Between the symposium and a recently passed law allowing parent coordinators to aid parents in resolving disputes about a child’s social well-being and upbringing (i.e., issues involving education, religious preference, extracurricular activities, accommodation of special needs and other similar matters), Florida is leading the way in creating a more progressive system of family dispute resolution. A parenting coordinator acts much like a mediator would, serving as a sounding board to helps parents hash out resolutions, making suggestions when the parties reach a standstill.
In the meantime, however, even though divorce rates are at their lowest in over 50 years, heated legal battles will continue. If you are considering divorce, seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney in your area. Doing so will help you protect your rights and can drastically increase your chances of a successful resolution.