Factors to Address in Mediation Agreements

Mediation is alternative methods of dispute resolution that can help couples reach a compromise on disputed issues, rather than going to court. If both spouses are willing to negotiate in good faith, mediation can be quicker, less expensive and less stressful than traditional divorce litigation.

Mediation can be conducted with or without lawyers present. Oftentimes, parties want to resolve their disputes on their own and seek out a mediator for that purpose. While mediation certainly can foster cooperation and lead to tentative agreements, it is critical to have your mediation agreement reviewed by an attorney before your sign it. Once both parties sign the agreement, it becomes a legally binding contract.

An experienced divorce lawyer understands the important factors that should be in your mediation agreement, including:

  • A list of property being divided
  • A list of property not being divided, and why
  • How property is to be divided
  • Who bears responsibility for debt payments
  • A list of debts not being divided, and why
  • Details about custody arrangements if there are children
  • Details about how parenting time will be shared
  • Specific monetary obligations of each party, such as:
    • Child support
    • Daycare
    • Education and extracurricular expenses
    • Non-covered medical and dental expenses
    • Alimony
    • Costs of mediation
    • Costs of liquidating property
    • Moving expenses related to separation
  • Responsibility for the costs of enforcement if either party breaches the agreement
  • How the agreement can be amended in the future, if needed

Some or all of these factors, along with others may be necessary to fully settle all issues between you and your spouse. It is in your best interests to have a skilled divorce attorney review your mediation agreement before you sign it.  By: Lauren B. Abramson

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