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What is a Collaborative Participation Agreement in an Illinois Divorce Case?

 Posted on February 22, 2022 in Collaborative Law

palatine divorce lawyerTo get divorced in Illinois, spouses must address multiple financial, legal, and logistical issues. If the spouses can agree on how to handle these issues, they can avoid the timely, costly, and stressful divorce litigation process. However, reaching an informed decision about property division, child custody, and other divorce issues is very difficult to do without help. Fortunately, Illinois spouses have the option of ending their marriage through collaborative law. Collaborative divorce is an alternative resolution method that offers numerous benefits for divorcing spouses and their children. One of the key elements in a collaborative divorce is the “participation agreement” or “collaborative agreement.”

Understanding Participation Agreements in a Collaborative Divorce

As the name implies, collaborative divorce is a collaborative process. The spouses and their lawyers seek to resolve divorce issues cooperatively, without the hostility that exists in many litigated divorce cases. To ensure that everyone in the collaborative divorce process understands and agrees to the terms of the resolution process, each participant is asked to sign a participation agreement. The spouses, their attorneys, accountants, appraisers, child specialists, and others involved in the collaborative process agree to these terms.

Each collaborative divorce is different, but many participation agreements include promises to:

  • Keep the case out of Court – Parties agree that they will try to resolve divorce issues without Court intervention. If a party wishes to abandon the collaborative divorce process and opt for litigation, the attorneys may be barred from representing the spouses during the case.
  • Discuss issues in good faith – Parties promise to discuss divorce issues in good faith and with a genuine aim toward resolution. They agree to act respectfully and avoid antagonistic behavior. Participants should not take advantage of any mistakes or miscalculations.
  • Disclose all needed information freely – Unlike in a litigated divorce, there is no discovery process in a collaborative divorce. Spouses are expected to freely provide financial documents or other needed information.
  • Maintain confidentiality – Every party agrees to keep the information discussed in the collaborative meetings confidential.

Contact a Palatine Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced, consider a collaborative divorce. Many spouses who utilize the collaborative divorce process are able to reach agreements on the unresolved issues without going to Court. Collaborative law allows the spouses to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce and make informed decisions. To learn more about how collaborative divorce may benefit you, contact Arlington Heights collaborative law family attorney Nicholas W. Richardson. Call 847.873.6741 for a free, confidential consultation.


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