Mediation is a wonderful alternative to divorce when the circumstances are right for it. If a client and the other spouse have what I call equal bargaining power, and one person is not bullying the other one into submission, then mediation is a great start for two spouses who can’t seem to find a compromise.
Mediation oftentimes works if there is a good mediator, but where the confusion rests is with clients who do not realize that mediation is not the final step. Mediation is the step toward determining whether the two spouses can work out a compromise. Then, the mediator puts together a memorandum of understanding. The clients then take that memorandum of understanding to their attorney, and the attorney will put it together in the proper form for court action.
The attorney cannot represent both parties. The other party has to have their attorney as well, or that party will be representing themselves.
The majority of the time, the court will accept their memorandum of understanding, but not as it is written by the mediator because that is typically not in a proper format. Once the memorandum of understanding has been formatted for the court, at that point, the parties can get a dissolution, or Agreed Divore. The attorneys then will put together the petition for dissolution, the agreement, as well of the documentation that goes with it, which may include a shared parenting plan, a shared parenting decree, a decree of dissolution, a finding of fact in conclusion of law, and other necessary papers.