Collaborative Agreement

What is the Collaborative Agreement?

The Collaborative Participation Agreement, or Collaborative Agreement, is a binding legal contract between couples and their attorneys to follow certain rules in order to resolve your divorce out of court. The Collaborative Agreement is what separates the collaborative divorce process from the traditional, adversarial-type divorce. The key principle of the agreement is that the parties mustresolve their case outside of court. By taking away the threat of going to court, participants are forced to work together to find creative solutions which must be acceptable to both parties.

What does the Collaborative Agreement Cover?

Your collaborative agreement will outline the rules of the road for your collaborative divorce process. Different collaborative practice groups may use slightly different collaborative agreements. Many contracts will contain some or all of the following provisions:

  1. Agreement to Stay out of Court

  2. Goals and Values of the Participants

  3. Steps of the Collaborative Process

  4. Use of Good Faith Negotiation

  5. Handling of Children’s Issues

  6. Use of Outside Experts

  7. Payment of Fees and Costs

  8. Enforceability of the Agreement

  9. Termination Procedures

  10. Acknowledgement and Pledge of Participants

Why is a Collaborative Agreement Important?

The binding agreement to stay out of court is what makes the collaborative process work, and what makes it an attractive alternative for couples looking to resolve their case in a balanced and respectful manner. The contract prevents power-play type divorce tactics and saves participants both time and money. Without first establishing binding rules in the form of a contract, divorce cases can often fall into the classic adversarial model. Only by taking away the threat of “taking the other person to court,” will a true collaborative process be possible. The collaborative agreement requires couples to communicate with one another in order to resolve their issues. As a result, the parties are better able to communicate going forward. These improved skills are especially helpful when children or grandchildren may be involved.

If you would like to know more about Collaborative Divorce and whether the collaborative divorce process can work for you, please contact us at 515-661-4588 or submit a consultation request to get started.

Have questions? Schedule your initial consultation.

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