Mediated Separation Agreements
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 separation agreement.
The mediation process should begin at the commencement of your separation for many reasons. People sometimes wait until they are dividing assets, selling/buying houses, and so on to start the mediation process. The problem with this is any financial institutions (bank, investments), mortgage brokers, and lenders will request a professionally drafted mediated separation agreement.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Separation Agreement?
Although at Clarity we pride ourselves in our fast work and ability to assist clients efficiently, there are some aspects that cause delays which in turn disrupts your ability to complete those financial transactions such as transferring or selling the matrimonial home. By starting the mediation process early and obtaining your mediated separation agreement, you are alleviating many headaches that may arise, and you have the peace of mind knowing that all the aspects of your separation have been figured out.
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 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 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.
All our mediators at Clarity Divorce Centre can draft up your mediated separation agreement. They will do so once they are satisfied that they have obtained all the necessary documentation and information and that everything has been discussed and agreed upon by both parties.
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 can 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 and pension divisions. 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 choose. 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.
What Should be Included in a Mediated Separation Agreement?
Given that every situation is different there are 100’s of ways of structuring your agreement. Your mediator will help you determine what should be in your personalized 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
Does a Mediated Separation Agreement Have to Be Notarized
Many people believe that you need to have your mediated separation agreement notarized. Generally, if both parties and the mediator have signed the agreement it is considered legally binding. You can, if you so choose, to have the agreement notarized at an additional cost.
In addition to a standard mediated separation agreement, there are other agreements that Clarity Divorce can prepare for you as well including:
- marital contract – an agreement prior to getting married
- interim mediated separation agreement – an agreement made and written up when a couple is in the process of separating and needs some aspects negotiated and agreed upon prior to having the whole mediated separation agreement.
- trial mediation separation agreement – an agreement mediated and drafted when a couple is unsure if they are wanting to separate permanently but are doing a trial separation.
In addition to the various types of agreements, Clarity Divorce Centre also offers a variety of mediation services including:
- Family mediation – The process by which the whole family participates in mediation to work through difficulties they may be facing.
- Child custody mediation – Mediation for the purposes of negotiating child custody arrangements in a separation or post-separation. Child custody mediation can also be used if the terms of the original mediated separation agreement have changed and need to be re-addressed.
- Child Support mediation – Mediation for the purpose of negotiating child support in a separation or post separation. For example, should the child custody change, or the amount of time spent at one parent’s house change the parties can participate in child support mediation to come to a new agreement.
- Financial mediation – Mediation for the purposes of negotiating the financial aspect of a separation.