Collaborative divorce – “Participation Agreement”

The Participation Agreement serves as the cornerstone of the Collaborative Law Process and Collaborative Divorce Buffalo.  It is the agreement that both the parties and the attorneys sign to begin working together.   The Participation Agreement provides the framework by which the “Collaborative Team” will proceed in working toward the ultimate goal of reaching agreement.

The Agreement describes the role of the Attorney and other professionals working in the process in a Collaborative Divorce Buffalo, and describes the principles on which the process is based, such as “Good Faith” negotiations  and “Participation with Integrity”.    That the parties treat each other with respect during the meetings is also stressed in the participation agreement.

The Participation Agreement also provides by agreement, what a court would order if the parties proceeded to court  – an agreement to refrain from taking any action which is out of the ordinary, both with respect to the parties financial circumstances, (such as transferring or concealing assets, terminating or modifying insurance policies, or incurring unreasonable debts) and with the parties’ children (such as relocating them to another residence, or interfering with either party access to the children.)

In the Participation Agreement, the parties agree, that much like if they were in court, there will be full and complete disclosure of financial information, and any other pertinent information related to the issues being discussed necessary for a Collaborative Divorce Buffalo.

An important distinction of the Collaborative Process from all others, is the agreement and understanding that if either party terminates the collaborative law process, both attorneys are disqualified from representing the parties in litigation.   In this event, both parties must hire new attorneys to represent their interests going forward.

During the process, the Agreement also serves as a constant reference point to remind the “team” of the collaborative principles.  It often helps to re-focus  the parties, or the professionals , should the discussions go off track in a Collaborative Divorce Buffalo.  

In a typical Collaborative Law Proceeding, the participation agreement will be reviewed in detail at the first session, and both parties will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have concerning its terms and provisions. After obtaining a pledge from both parties to abide by the terms and principles set forth in the agreement, all members of the “collaborative law team” will sign the agreement. In some cases,  much of the first session is taken up with a review of the agreement.