WHEREAS, pursuant to §61.55, Florida Statutes, the expressed policy of the State of Florida is to encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes and the early resolution of pending litigation through a voluntary settlement process. The collaborative law process is a unique non-adversarial process that preserves a working relationship between the parties and reduces the emotional and financial toll of litigation, and
WHEREAS, if the parties are in agreement, the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court supports their use of the collaborative law process model in lieu of the traditional adversarial litigation process to resolve their family law disputes;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RAUL A. ZAMBRANO, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, hereby order as follows:
- Judges assigned to Family Law divisions are encouraged to support parties’ use of the collaborative law process model set forth in §§61.55-61.58, Florida Statutes.
- If they so elect, parties may proceed with collaborative process dispute resolution before or after any of the proceedings set forth under §61.56(5), Florida Statutes, have been initiated. If such a proceeding has been initiated, the parties are to notify the Court of their intention to proceed under the Collaborative Law Process Act by filing a Notice of Intent to Proceed Under the Collaborative Law Process Act. Once the notice is filed, the proceedings before the Court will abate until the Collaborative Process has terminated as set forth in §61.57, Florida Statutes.
- Parties and designated professionals who wish to engage in collaborative conflict resolution must contractually commit to such and may not seek Court intervention to decide any issues between the parties except as specifically set forth herein.
- In the event the collaborative process ends without a full agreement having been reached, the parties are to file an appropriate notice with the Court. The matter will thereafter proceed as required under the Rules of Court.
- Proceedings conducted under the collaborative process are confidential. If an agreement is reached, the parties must file such documents with the Court as are necessary for a judge to render a Final Judgment. The parties may be required to present the underlying documents to a judge for review and approval, but are not required to file said documents in the Court file. A judge may also seek to review the parties’ financial affidavits, Collaborative Marital Settlement Agreement, and Parenting Plan in order to approve the Final Judgment, but may not require it absent the agreement by the parties.
- If the parties agree that any temporary or partial agreements that may have been reached during the process survive the termination of the collaborative process, judges are to ratify said agreements if requested to do so.
TO BE RECORDED in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
DONE AND ORDERED in DeLand, Volusia County, Florida, this 7th day of September 2018.