Divorce Mediation: You’ve Agreed on Everything, Now What?

Divorce is never entered into lightly, and is an emotionally wearing experience for both spouses no matter how necessary.  Even when mediation is the procedure used to work out the details – a less expensive, less emotionally trying, and faster process than litigation in most instances – there is a lot of work required to successfully sever two lives, two income streams, and shared assets, not to mention working out the best interests of children.

As a result, the end of the mediation sessions, when everything has been worked through and settled, is really just the end of the first phase of the divorce process.  Even though both spouses have agreed in principle on all the issues, a lot of work remains.  So what are the next steps after a successful divorce mediation?

Draft Agreement

After mediation is concluded successfully, your attorney-mediator will prepare a Separation Agreement in accordance with the laws of your region.  It’s perfectly acceptable and common for each spouse to have their own attorney review and advise on this agreement, but your attorney-mediator should have the basic knowledge and experience to prepare the document.

Court Entry

Once you and your spouse have approved the Separation Agreement according to your understanding of the decisions made in mediation, an attorney-mediator will prepare the additional court documents in order to file the agreement with the court and request approval.  The supporting documentation may include affidavits, financial statements and other documents.  The judge assigned to your divorce will review the submitted documents and either approve it or reject it.  If rejected, it will need to be adjusted.

If approved, the court will “so order” the proposed Judgment of Divorce that was submitted with your court filing which becomes the official divorce decree and which dissolves the marriage and incorporates the signed separation agreement.

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