One of the many advantages of divorce mediation, is that the agreement is not binding until it is filed with the Court. As a result, we can continue to make changes to the arrangements if needed. Sometimes, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, we suggest that the divorcing couple start following the agreement as we make it to see how it works for them. For example, if they created a parenting schedule in mediation, they can try it out to see how it plays out in real life. On the financial side, mediation clients sometimes begin closing their joint accounts and start separating their finances. By living the agreement while working on it, they can fine-tune their plans as we go.
For some families, the fact that the agreement isn't yet binding can sometimes lead to confusion. If one spouse does not follow the provisions that we arrived at during mediation, the other person has little recourse until the agreement documents are filed with the Court. For example, if one parent does not pick up the children on his/her designated day or he/she drags his/her feet going to the bank to change the accounts, there is not much the other spouse can do until the Court signs off on the plan.
At that point, all the provisions are enforceable, and the ex-spouses can get the Court involved to make sure each party does what he/she agreed to do. Luckily, if follow-through is a concern, the fact that couples can complete their agreement fairly quickly in divorce mediation enables them to get to a place in a short time where they can create and file an agreement that the Court will enforce.