If you’re beginning to think about divorce, you may be wondering what to expect if you use mediation instead of going to court to achieve your goals.
The first thing to know about mediation is that you and your spouse will be in charge of your final agreement. No one can force you to do anything. (That is true if domestic violence does not exist. Courts usually deal with issues of abuse.)
A mediator guides communication and information gathering that results in a mutually agreed upon document, which she writes up, called a Memorandum of Understanding. You each take a copy of the MOA to a personal attorney to be sure all necessary elements have been included and that the court will accept it as written. You sign the document; after a judge signs it, the divorce is official.
A Memorandum of Agreement includes how the following elements will be handled:
assets (such as marital residence), other property, bank accounts, investments, tangible personal property; liabilities, such as mortgage, charge card accounts, other debts;
alimony; taxes; and co-parenting, if there are children.
A Parenting Plan for co-parenting includes: parental decision making, where children live, their daily schedule, child support, health insurance, education, how accounts they may have would be handled, and how communication between parents will occur.
Full, honest disclosure is anticipated. Areas of difficult communication and conflict are dealt with fairly and respectfully. When areas of special knowledge are needed, the parties consult with experts.
Depending on the complexity of matters and ability of spouses to communicate, mediation can be completed in as few as several meetings of about two hours each.
And, if you and your spouse have trouble communicating with each other, you might actually learn - through the process of mediation - what would make communication easier and more effective! That can be another welcome outcome of mediating your divorce.
Let me help you through the process.