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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 61
DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE; SUPPORT; TIME-SHARING
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F.S. 61.58
61.58 Confidentiality of a collaborative law communication.Except as provided in this section, a collaborative law communication is confidential to the extent agreed by the parties in a signed record or as otherwise provided by law.
(1) PRIVILEGE AGAINST DISCLOSURE FOR COLLABORATIVE LAW COMMUNICATION; ADMISSIBILITY; DISCOVERY.
(a) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a collaborative law communication is privileged as provided under paragraph (b), is not subject to discovery, and is not admissible into evidence.
(b) In a proceeding, the following privileges apply:
1. A party may refuse to disclose, and may prevent another person from disclosing, a collaborative law communication.
2. A nonparty participant may refuse to disclose, and may prevent another person from disclosing, a collaborative law communication of a nonparty participant.
(c) Evidence or information that is otherwise admissible or subject to discovery does not become inadmissible or protected from discovery solely because of its disclosure or use in a collaborative law process.
(2) WAIVER AND PRECLUSION OF PRIVILEGE.
(a) A privilege under subsection (1) may be waived orally or in a record during a proceeding if it is expressly waived by all parties and, in the case of the privilege of a nonparty participant, if it is expressly waived by the nonparty participant.
(b) A person who makes a disclosure or representation about a collaborative law communication that prejudices another person in a proceeding may not assert a privilege under subsection (1). This preclusion applies only to the extent necessary for the person prejudiced to respond to the disclosure or representation.
(3) LIMITS OF PRIVILEGE.
(a) A privilege under subsection (1) does not apply to a collaborative law communication that is:
1. Available to the public under chapter 119 or made during a session of a collaborative law process that is open, or is required by law to be open, to the public;
2. A threat, or statement of a plan, to inflict bodily injury or commit a crime of violence;
3. Intentionally used to plan a crime, commit or attempt to commit a crime, or conceal an ongoing crime or ongoing criminal activity; or
4. In an agreement resulting from the collaborative law process, as evidenced by a record signed by all parties to the agreement.
(b) The privilege under subsection (1) for a collaborative law communication does not apply to the extent that such collaborative law communication is:
1. Sought or offered to prove or disprove a claim or complaint of professional misconduct or malpractice arising from or relating to a collaborative law process; or
2. Sought or offered to prove or disprove abuse, neglect, abandonment, or exploitation of a child or an adult unless the Department of Children and Families is a party to or otherwise participates in the process.
(c) A privilege under subsection (1) does not apply if a tribunal finds, after a hearing in camera, that the party seeking discovery or the proponent of the evidence has shown that the evidence is not otherwise available, the need for the evidence substantially outweighs the interest in protecting confidentiality, and the collaborative law communication is sought or offered in:
1. A proceeding involving a felony; or
2. A proceeding seeking rescission or reformation of a contract arising out of the collaborative law process or in which a defense is asserted to avoid liability on the contract.
(d) If a collaborative law communication is subject to an exception under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c), only the part of the collaborative law communication necessary for the application of the exception may be disclosed or admitted.
(e) Disclosure or admission of evidence excepted from the privilege under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) does not make the evidence or any other collaborative law communication discoverable or admissible for any other purpose.
(f) The privilege under subsection (1) does not apply if the parties agree in advance in a signed record, or if a record of a proceeding reflects agreement by the parties, that all or part of a collaborative law process is not privileged. This paragraph does not apply to a collaborative law communication made by a person who did not receive actual notice of the collaborative law participation agreement before the communication was made.
History.s. 7, ch. 2016-93.