Participation agreements are usually signed at or before the first four-way meeting between the lawyers and clients. The participation agreement includes basic elements:

  • If the collaborative process does not resolve the conflict, and the clients go to court, they will retain other lawyers
  • The parties agree to try to work towards resolution for the best interests of the family, especially if children are involved
  • The parties agree to try to talk respectfully, including not threatening to go to court
  • The parties agree to full financial disclosure, which means that both parties agree to be honest and fair in disclosing financial information
  • The parties agree that all negotiations are confidential and will not be used later in court
  • If the client violates any of these rules, the lawyer must withdraw and let the other party’s lawyer know that the process is at an end