Collaborative divorce is a well-known alternative to litigating the end of your marriage in court. While this offers many benefits, it does not mean that there are no challenges involved. The stakes are high in a collaborative divorce. Before you and your spouse commit to it, you should know what it requires of you.
You and your spouse do not go through the collaborative process alone. You work together with one another, each with your own attorney to represent your interests, and you can also engage a team of experts, such as financial and mental health professionals, to assist with the process. Here are some of the key aspects of collaborative divorce that the participation agreement you sign at the beginning will include.
1. Good faith negotiations
According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the goal of the collaborative process is to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. Therefore, both sides must agree to negotiate in good faith, without trying to get the better of the other party.
2. Voluntary disclosure
Neither you nor your spouse should hold back any information relevant to the matter under discussion. This would prevent you from having all the information you need to make an appropriate decision. If some of the relevant information is embarrassing or extremely personal, it may help you to know that the collaborative process is completely confidential.
3. Commitment to the process
Participation in the collaborative process requires commitment from you, your spouse and the attorneys representing each of you. To demonstrate this commitment, all parties agree that the attorney-client relationship will come to an end if you discontinue the process in favor of litigation.