Understanding the Collaborative Participation Agreement
The Collaborative Participation Agreement is signed by the couple and their attorneys at the first joint meeting. It is a contract with four main points:
1. Full disclosure: There must be full disclosure of all information that might be important to making decisions for both partners.
2. Neutral experts: The process uses expert neutrals wherever possible, and they must be credentialed in their own fields.
3. Confidential process: Neither partner nor any collaborative practitioner can be subpoenaed or cross-examined about the statements which are made in the process. This makes it safer for both marriage partners to speak to their own needs without fear that what they say “can and will be held against them” later.
4. Limited services: All collaborative practitioners are retained only for the collaborative divorce process, and cannot offer other or different services to the couple in future, unless both partners and the practitioners agree.
More About Limited Services
Limited services means the Team Members in the case are limited in the services they can provide to the spouses in the future: Financial Specialists cannot solicit financial planning business from the couple; Family/Child Specialists or Coaches cannot solicit therapy from the family ; and the Collaborative Attorneys cannot solicit litigation business from the couple.
The attorneys have not been hired for a full representation in a court process, so the couple saves money. For example, the lawyers do not need to assemble information in a formal way to become evidence, or prepare documents that would be needed solely for a court process (financial affidavits, case management reports, pre-trial hearing statements, etc).