Do We Still Have to Follow Court Guidelines If We Mediate?
Mediation is an amicable alternative to the traditional courtroom divorce for many. Mediation leaves the decision-making power in your hands and lets you and your spouse control your divorce process. With a typical mediation, you and your spouse will draft up a separation agreement, prepare your final divorce papers, and submit them to the court for review. In some cases, you will only have to appear in court once. In this respect, mediation minimizes the involvement of the court, but you still need to follow certain guidelines for your divorce to be legal and finalized.
The court imposes certain guidelines that all divorces must adhere to.
For example, child support must be calculated according to certain guidelines. You will have to calculate your child support obligation using these guidelines even if you mediate.
You and your spouse do not have to follow any set guidelines when it comes to making provisions for alimony and the division of your debts and assets.
As long as you and your spouse agree on these issues, you can submit your agreement as is. It is important to point out, however, that your agreement may not be approved.
Regardless if you mediator or litigate, you will have to submit standard forms to the court for your divorce to be granted. You and your spouse can write up your separation agreement however you want, but it must be accompanied by a joint petition, joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown, a copy of your marriage certificate, a certificate of absolute divorce, and your financial statements. If you have children, you will also have to submit certain forms pertaining to their care and custody, child support, and your parenting class certificate. A judge will have to review your agreement and final papers and sign off on them. Only then can your divorce be finalized.
In reviewing your separation agreement, the judge will consider it using the same guidelines as if you had litigated your divorce. The judge may make or suggest changes if the agreement is not fair or if your agreement on the care and custody of your child is not in your child’s best interest.
Polly A. Tatum has the skills and experience needed to help you be successful in mediation without the need for attorneys. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session.
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