Does a Judge Need to Review Our Separation Agreement?
Choosing divorce mediation instead of taking your divorce to court can be liberating. It empowers you to stay in control of what happens to your future, and it can help you and your spouse foster an effective working relationship, instead of bitter animosity. Mediation can leave you feeling like you have all the power, but it is important to keep in mind a judge will still need to review your Separation Agreement once you and your spouse sign it. This doesn’t mean he or she will scrutinize every decision; all the judge will be doing is reviewing your Agreement to make sure it is fair and any decisions regarding your child are made are in their best interests.
The judge may ask some questions to better understand the circumstances of your case. The judge wants to ensure both spouses are treated fairly in the Agreement. The judge may make or suggest changes if the Agreement is grossly unfair to one party, or if it is clearly not in the best interests of the child. Typically, if you and your spouse agree to the terms of the Separation Agreement and neither of you signed it under duress or through coercion or force, the judge may not require you to make any changes.
You still need to seek the approval of the court for your divorce to be granted even if you do not have an attorney represent you. The court will ensure the terms of the divorce are fair to both spouses, and provisions made for any minor children common to the marriage are in the child’s best interests. Consider working with an experienced
Massachusetts divorce mediator if you and your spouse need help with your Separation Agreement. A mediator cannot make the decisions for you or decide what is fair. Your mediator can help you and your spouse find creative solutions to your problem issues. This can help ensure the Agreement is fair, reasonable, and meets your needs. A thoughtfully crafted Agreement that works in your family’s specific circumstances is more likely to be accepted by the judge as is.
If you have questions about drafting a Separation Agreement, Mediation Advantage Services can assist you. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you and your spouse draft an Agreement that is comprehensive and fair. 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, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.