Memorandum of Understanding is Non Binding Agreement
A divorce mediation agreement, also called a Memorandum of Understanding, is not a legally binding document. The agreements you reach in divorce mediation are made in good faith. However, you do have the option to tweak the document after you complete mediation and before you get to court to finalize your divorce. Upon further review, you may want to make minor changes. For example, you might increase the amount each parent is responsible for regarding the children's college education cost, decrease the length of alimony by a year, divide your IRA instead of your 401(k) or switch around the days of which parent have the kids on which days. You have the option to do any and all of these things after you leave mediation and before your divorce is finalized in court.
The concern some people have is what if all the work you have done in mediation falls apart between the time you complete mediation and get to court. Our experience at Westfield Mediation, LLC, is that this rarely happens. Once you consult an attorney for legal advice, the lawyer may suggest you change this or that about the agreement. As long as you pick a mediation-friendly review attorney, the bones of your agreement usually stay the same and some minor details may be altered. The only time we have seen mediation utterly fall apart after mediation was complete was when a spouse picked a non-mediation-friendly attorney who basically immediately threw out the agreement and wanted the spouse to start from scratch.
Divorce mediation is a court recognized settlement process. The court will accept the fair and equitable divorce agreement you reached during mediation. It is nice to have the flexibility to modify slightly your original agreement without it all falling apart after mediation. That flexibility allows people to feel comfortable making important decisions in mediation for their future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For more information about parenting plans, child support and divorce mediation, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT at Westfield Mediation, LLC, by phone 908-913-0373, or email us at or View our website
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