What is mediation?
Question & AnswerWhat is mediation?
You can prepare for your by understanding what the law says you can get and what you can put in an agreement.
Your mediation agreement should explain the details of how mediation will take place. You can also ask your mediator if you have questions about the process. They can explain things like how long meetings will be, if they will meet with you and your partner separately or together, and what documents you should bring to each meeting.
Share financial information
If you need to resolve property or support issues, it is very important that you share complete and honest information about you income, , and . This is called financial disclosure.
You can share this information in many ways. For example, you could use a computer spreadsheet that lists your financial information.
You can also fill out one of the financial statement court forms. Many people use these forms even if they don't go to court. The forms can be useful because they show you what a court looks at when deciding support and property issues. They also help you see what type of information you and your partner need to give each other.
When making your agreement, if you or your partner shared financial information that was not true or hid information on an important asset or debt, a court may decide that the process was not fair.
A mediator can help you figure out what information needs to be shared to reach an agreement.
After you reach an agreement
Your mediator puts what you and your partner agreed on in a document. This document is sometimes called “” or a “memorandum of understanding”.
It usually isn't as detailed as a .
Your separation agreement is based on your minutes of settlement. Lawyers usually draft separation agreements.
You should get from a lawyer before you sign a separation agreement.
A lawyer can help you and your partner reach an agreement that is legal and “enforceable” or “binding”. A binding agreement means that if either of you stop following the agreement, the court can order you or your partner to do what the agreement says.
Once you and your partner have made a binding agreement, it will not be easy to set aside your agreement. This means asking the court to allow you not follow the agreement.
For example, the court will not set aside an agreement just because one of you has changed your mind and now thinks your agreement is not fair. But the court may allow you to set asideall or part of the agreement if it wasn't negotiated fairly because one of you didn't share your financial information honestly.
If your situation has changed, you can ask the court to change an agreement that deals with some issues like:
- child support
- spousal support
- decision-making responsibility, which used to be called
- parenting time, which used to be called
For example, it may change your and parenting agreement if you agreed to pay child support but your children moved in with you after you signed your agreement.