What Happens After Settlement in Mediation
Mediation is an excellent method of resolving a case, regardless of whether a settlement agreement is reached.
Most divorce cases are resolved before going to trial
To “settle” a case means to reach an official resolution of your dispute without the decision of a judge. You and your spouse agree on what actions will be taken (for example, monetary payment) and agree that when those actions are taken (for example, on execution of the settlement agreement, entry of the Judgment of Divorce or another time).
Mediation is an excellent alternative for dispute resolution. With the assistance of an impartial third party, you control the details of your final agreement. You are freed from your stressful situation and free to move on with your life much sooner and at a much lower cost than going to court. The reality is that most divorce cases settle before trial. This means that even if your case is one of the few where mediation is unsuccessful, you will probably find a way to reach a full agreement before going to court.
What Happens After Mediation?
Regardless of whether a settlement agreement is reached, there is still work to be done after the mediation ends.
File documents with the court (if necessary)
If the case is settled in mediation, the parties and/or the mediator will advise the court that the matter is settled. Then one of the attorneys will prepare the settlement agreement for review and execution by both parties containing the settlement terms reached in mediation.
Follow the Agreement
Once the Agreement is signed, make sure that you complete all items set forth in the Agreement in the time frame set forth in the Agreement, such as transferring assets, canceling credit cards, delivering titles to cars, and setting up life insurance. The Agreement is binding and enforceable by the court, so you are legally bound to take the actions that you agreed to.
If no agreement was reached: don’t despair
Sometimes you can reach an agreement on some items in mediation. Reaching a partial agreement, or not reaching an agreement does not automatically mean that you are going to court. There are other opportunities to try to settle your case before the court schedules a trial. Remember, most cases are still resolved before going to trial. Talk to your lawyer about options to keep the dialogue open with the other party, if possible.
Getting to the End
Divorcing couples in New Jersey are increasingly turning to mediation as a way to reduce the cost and conflict of ending a marriage. In divorce mediation, a trained and neutral professional meets with the couple in an informal setting (either in person or remotely) to guide them through the process by exploring solutions, offering suggestions and helping the two parties negotiate and reach agreement on important issues of your divorce.
If you do not have an attorney you shouldn’t sign anything in mediation, but should ask the mediator for a memorandum of understanding that you can then review with counsel. Then, if you agree to all the terms in the memorandum, your attorney can prepare an agreement reflecting those terms which you and your spouse can then sign, making it binding.
If you are interested in resolving your divorce or other family law matter in mediation, please contact our office to schedule a consult at (973) 292-9222. Our team of attorneys can work with you to truly ensure Divorce without the Drama.