The agreement you will receive at the completion of your mediation process is a legally binding document that will lay out everything that you have agreed to for now and in the future. Your agreement will be THE MOST important document for your separation.
Your mediator can and will write up your mediated separation agreement. Mediation is known to be the most cost and time effective way of obtaining a mediated separation agreement.
When should we get an agreement drafted?
You will need a mediated separation agreement before your divorce paperwork. Many people believe that these two documents go hand in hand when in fact, they are totally separate. If you are able to mediate a fair and acceptable mediated separation agreement then this document will override your divorce paperwork. Given that you are required to be separated for a year prior to filing your divorce paperwork, ideally you will have already completed the mediation process and have your mediated separation agreement prior to filing your divorce paperwork. In a joint divorce filing, you are simply asking the court to end the marriage, you are not asking them to rule on anything involved in your separation.
Can your mediators draft the agreement?
All of our mediators at Clarity Divorce can draft up your mediated separation agreement. They will do so once they are satisfied that they have obtained all of the necessary documentation and information and that everything has been discussed and agreed upon by both parties.
Does our agreement need to be notarized?
Many people believe that you need to have your mediated separation agreement notarized. Generally as long as both parties and the mediator have signed the agreement it is considered legally binding. You can if you so chose have the agreement notarized at an additional cost.
What should be included in my agreement?
Another question about mediated separation agreements is what should be included. This is why your mediator is there! Given that every situation is different there are 100’s of ways of structuring your agreement. Overall, the subject that should be included in your mediated separation agreement are:
- Background information
- Employment information
- Income information
- Custody of children
- Access schedules of children
- Holiday access schedule of the children
- Important decision making for the children
- Child support and parameters for termination
- Spousal support if being paid or a spousal support release if not being paid
- Pension information- or a release
- What is happening with the matrimonial home
- Asset division
- Debt division
- Dispute resolution
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Division of property
- And anything else that is important to both parties to have included
Our approach to mediation and therefore obtaining your mediated separation agreement is simple. It all starts with individual consultations for both parties. These consultations are one on one meetings with the mediator. This gives you each the opportunity to meet with the mediator and discuss any potential issues, ask questions, address any concerns and understand the process. This is of great benefit as it does assist the mediation process to go somewhat smoother as the mediator has the opportunity to assess where the potential difficulties may arise.
Once each party has completed their consultations, the mediator will schedule the first mediation session. With mediation, both parties attend the session where the mediator will discuss all aspects of your separation. The mediator will assist you both in negotiating the terms of your separation including but not limited to: custody, access, child support, spousal support, division of assets and debts, household items, pension divisions and so on.
Mediation is charged by the hour, and will take as long as is necessary for all avenues of the separation to be negotiated and agreed upon. The mediator will be able to assist you both with building an agreement that will outline how your separation will proceed including future decisions. Once everything has been negotiated and agreed upon, the mediator will draft up an agreement. You will have the opportunity to review the agreement and make changes.
In addition, you have the choice to take this agreement to a lawyer of your choosing to be reviewed. This is called independent legal advice. The independent legal advice is not mandatory and more of an option if you so chose. Once the agreement is drafted, changes made, and everyone is ready, all parties will sign it and that completes the process. You will then have a legally binding mediated separation agreement.