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Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative Family Lawyer in Tampa

Sessums Law Group, P.A. attorneys are trained in Collaborative Family Law which is a relatively new method of legal practice to solve marital and family law problems without going to court.  The concept is an alternative to traditional litigation which allows families an opportunity to discuss and solve their problems with the help of a team of attorneys and neutral professionals such as a mental health counselor and a financial expert.  It is a team approach that takes place in a confidential and private environment.  The goals and interests of the individuals are expressed, explored and the starting point of focused dialogue between all parties to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution.  Creating a long-lasting plan for your family is imperative to a healthy life both emotionally and financially post divorce.

The Collaborative Family Law practice has many advantages to you and your family during these stressful times:

  • Avoid a Court Room – When the parties involved are able to address their disputes in the collaborative process, there is no need to go through the traditional court system.
  • Cooperation and Negotiation – Collaborative Law involves both sides working together to achieve the best possible outcome for all that are involved.  Both parties are encouraged to consider the other party’s concerns when deciding how to move forward.
  • Schedule – For the most part matters that go through the court system take a long time and require returning to court multiple times.  Using the Collaborative process, we agree to stay out of court and are usually able to avoid what can often be a very time and money-consuming ordeal.

Collaborative Law Q&A

When you and your spouse are discussing separation, and subsequent divorce, it can be a confusing, emotional time. There is no easy way to go about divorce, but there are methods that can make the entire process go smoother, and cause less emotional distress, than others. One of these methods is referred to as Collaborative Divorce (or Collaborative Law) and is something we are proud to offer here at Sessums Law Group. However, few of our clients truly understand what the term collaborative law means, and therefore have a difficult time making an informed decision regarding their own personal divorce process. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

What is a Collaborative Divorce? 

Divorce can look very different from one couple to the next, but there are general ways to group them together. For example, those with lots of tension, high emotion, and lack of compromise usually require much more legal intervention than those who are mutually agreeing to separate on civil terms. Difficult divorces such as these often result in the uncertain outcomes of a trial with a court judge. While some couples do indeed collaborate, by way of their individual attorneys settling things for them, so as to avoid the uncertainty of a trial, this is not collaborative law. A true Collaborative Divorce occurs when each party sits down with their respective lawyers, and any other family professionals (such as financial advisors, therapists, etc.) to negotiate the terms of the divorce and give each party the best possible outcome.

Is Collaborative Law Right for Me

When asking yourself whether or not a Collaborative Divorce is your best option, you’ll need to evaluate your current relationship with your (soon-to-be) former spouse. Are you still on civil terms with one another, and able to manage basic tasks and responsibilities, like continuing to parent your children, manage living arrangements, etc.? If the answer is yes, then you would probably do well to at least discuss collaborative law with your own lawyer and learn more about how you can start the process in your own divorce. However, if you and your ex cannot navigate any life decision or circumstance without an argument, and with lack of compromise, you probably need to pursue other avenues for your own divorce process.

Will Choosing Collaborative Law Make Things Easier after the Divorce? 

This is really a question without a definitive answer, since each couple is unique and your own personal choices will affect life following your divorce. However, generally speaking, a collaborative divorce will be more likely to result in each party walking away from the divorce satisfied with the results, which means there are no lingering feelings of resentment or anger for being “done wrong” by one’s ex. This sense of compromise can carry over to future decisions that will inevitably involve one’s former spouse, such as custody and schedules with growing children, major life events involving common family members (like children) or acquaintances, etc. If you ended your divorce in a civil manner, it could, in theory, make life easier down the road when you have to collaborate on other things following your divorce.

How Collaborative Family Law Attorneys Help Families

Collaborative family law attorneys help families navigate complex legal issues related to divorce, separation, and other family matters. By adopting a team-oriented approach, these professionals provide a supportive environment that encourages open dialogue and cooperation. Their primary goal is to facilitate a respectful negotiation process, preserving the dignity and relationships of all parties involved. Families benefit from this method as it avoids the adversarial nature of traditional litigation, reduces emotional stress, and fosters a sense of control over the outcomes.

Methods Collaborative Family Lawyers Use:

  • Team-Based Approach: As mentioned earlier, collaborative attorneys can work alongside other neutral professionals to provide a well-rounded support system that addresses all aspects of the family's needs.
  • Interest-Based Negotiation: Rather than focusing on the legal positions of each party, collaborative attorneys emphasize understanding and addressing the underlying interests and needs. This approach encourages creative solutions that satisfy both parties.
  • Confidential Environment: All discussions and negotiations take place in a private setting, ensuring that sensitive family matters remain confidential and are handled with the utmost respect.
  • Enhanced Communication: Attorneys facilitate constructive communication between parties, helping them to articulate their goals, concerns, and preferences without resorting to conflict.
  • Customized Solutions: Collaborative lawyers tailor their strategies to the unique circumstances of each family, ensuring that the solutions are practical, sustainable, and aligned with the clients' visions for their future.
  • Resource Accessibility: Throughout the collaborative process, clients have access to various resources and professionals who can offer guidance on parenting plans, financial management, and emotional well-being.
  • Forward-Focused Planning: Collaborative attorneys help clients develop comprehensive plans that consider the long-term implications of their decisions, ensuring stability and security for all family members post-divorce.
  • Empowerment through Education: By educating clients about their legal rights and options, collaborative lawyers empower them to make informed decisions that best suit their family dynamics.

By utilizing these methods, collaborative family law attorneys strive to make the legal process less daunting and more amicable, ultimately leading to healthier family relationships and better long-term outcomes.

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Our Settlements & Verdicts

Sessums Law Group, P.A. Attorneys Take Pride in Delivering Exceptional Results for Our Valued Clients

Our top priority is to devise customized legal strategies that are tailored to the unique legal needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complicated their situations, might be.

  • $6,000,000.00 Recovery Fraud Civil Action

    Sessums Law Group, P.A. successfully recovered $6,000,000.00 for a client in a fraud civil action.  Prior to the client’s divorce, the client negotiated and executed an agreement with his wife’s boyfriend that sought that the boyfriend would have no contact with the client’s wife.

  • $2,740,000.00 Wrongful Death Hit/Run of Motorcyclist

    Representation of the plaintiff hit from behind on his motorcycle by a driver who was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident.  Sued the defendant; the bar that the defendant had been drinking and the defendant’s employer.

  • $1,929,000.00 Verdict Real Estate Deficiency

    Representation of estate in real estate deficiency claim resulting in joint and several liability verdict against various doctors and chiropractors.

  • $1,000,000.00 Settlement Collision

    Representation of estate in an automobile and tractor trailer collision that resulted in multiple deaths.

  • Confidential Settlement Amount Medical Malpractice

    Client was burned with a hot pack after delivering her son via Cesarean section.

  • Confidential Settlement Amount Nursing Home Negligence

    Representation of the Personal Representative of the Estate of the patient who died due to negligent care while in the care of the nursing home.

  • Confidential Settlement Amount Trolley Accident

    Representation of passengers who were enjoying a sight- seeing tour aboard a trolley when the trolley was hit by a bus. The passengers suffered soft tissue injuries.

  • Confidential Settlement Amount Hit & Run

    Sessums Law Group was recently successful in settling a case for a hard working Polk County man whose hit and run accident resulted in a need for a knee replacement.  The defendant argued that our client had caused the accident.  We were able to prove through expert accident reconstruction testimony that the accident happened as our client testified despite the minimal damage involved.

  • Confidential Settlement Stolen Property

    Client’s vehicle was burglarized and her engagement and wedding rings stolen. The perpetrator pawned the stolen items to a local pawn shop. The pawn shop ignored the hold order from the police department and sold the engagement and wedding rings. After suit filed for the Plaintiff, a confidential settlement was reached with the pawn shop for the value to our client of her stolen rings.

Florida Attorneys with Proven Expertise, Devoted to Exceptional Service

"Our firm believes in the integrity of the needs of the each client we represent. We are passionate about obtaining the maximum results allowable under the law for each client."

- Mark A. Sessums