This is the sixth step of a series of 12 steps that explains in detail how the Collaborative Divorce Process works. Click here for the previous step.
Arriving at this step might have taken awhile and you may not fully appreciate the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce, but you and your partner have decided you want to proceed with this process. By selecting this process you have decided that the road to the Court house is not the route you want to take. Also, you understand that by choosing this process you agree not go to Court. If you change your mind the Collaborative Process stops and you and your partner will need to find other legal representation. By deciding to use the Collaborative approach in resolving your issues regarding your divorce or matter, you and your partner have decided to be open with one another and to listen to the other person.
Now that you and your partner have decided to use the Collaborative Divorce, you will often meet with your attorney again. During this meeting, you will sign a retainer agreement with your attorney that is specifically for representation in a Collaborative case. The difference between this retainer and a regular retainer is that you are agreeing that should your attorney have to withdraw from the process or that the process has been ended by on of the participants, then you will have to seek other legal representation to assist you in resolving your issues.
After you have signed the Retainer Agreement with your attorney, if your attorney has not already done so, you and your attorney will discuss the use of other professionals. Your attorney will want you to speak with your mental health coach. At your first meeting with your mental health coach, you will need to sign a retainer agreement with them too. If it has already been decided that you will use a financial specialist, you and your partner may separately or jointly meet with the specialist and sign their retainer agreement.
During your meeting with your attorney, you will review the participation agreement and will receive a copy to review at home. The Participation Agreement will be signed by all team members at the first full team meeting.
After you have selected the Collaborative process and you have retained all your professionals, a date and time will be chosen for your first full team meeting. Before this meeting, all professionals will usually have a pre-meeting and plan for the matter at hand.