Collaborative divorce is a specific type of divorce process in which spouses are represented by their own attorneys, but still work cooperatively toward a solution. The ultimate goal of the collaborative divorce process is to reach a settlement on divorce issues such as property division and the allocation of parenting time and responsibilities without litigation. To facilitate this process, the divorcing spouses typically sign a Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement is a document that outlines each party's commitments and expectations throughout the collaborative divorce process.
Elements of a Participation Agreement or Collaborative Agreement
A Participation Agreement is a document that outlines the expectations of all parties involved in the collaborative divorce. It outlines each party's legal rights and obligations.
Most participation agreements include the following provisions:
- Negotiate in good faith - The spouses commit to negotiate in good faith and to do so with respect and civility. This means that each spouse will strive to come to an agreement without the use of adversarial tactics such as intimidation, forced compromises, or threats.
- Full disclosure of information - Both parties agree to provide full and complete disclosure of all relevant financial documents, such as tax returns and bank statements. The spouses and their attorneys will not be forced to use discovery tools or subpoenas to gain access to important financial information. The spouses will also freely provide non-financial information such as child-related records or medical documents as needed.
- Honest and respectful communication - The spouses commit to communicating openly and honestly with each other, as well as their attorneys.
- Confidentiality - The participating parties will maintain the confidentiality of the collaborative process and the information revealed in it. This means that the contents of any negotiations, discussions or conversations will not be disclosed.
- No court appearances - Spouses also agree not to file any motions or petitions in court during the collaborative divorce process. This ensures that the parties will not use the court system to gain an advantage in negotiations and encourages them to work cooperatively toward a settlement. If a spouse wishes to abandon the collaborative process and litigate the case through the court system, the spouses will typically need to retain new lawyers to do so.
Contact our Kane County Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
If you are getting divorced and you wish to explore the possibility of a collaborative divorce, contact the experienced attorneys at MKFM Law. Our St. Charles divorce attorneys have the experience to guide you through a collaborative divorce process and help you work toward an amicable settlement. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.