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Who prepares the divorce agreement in a mediation?

You and your spouse, with the help of the mediator. 

Mediation is meant to be a wholly collaborative process that allows you, your spouse, and the mediator each play a role in crafting a divorce agreement that is fair, equitable and legally binding. You and your spouse provide all of the “raw materials” for the divorce agreement. Meanwhile, the mediator guides you into productive conversations that are meant to draw out key facts and flesh out potential roadblocks that could become a source of conflict in the years ahead. The facts teased out by the mediator fuel more solutions for you and your spouse as all of the potential conflicts that are foreseeable for your post-divorce life are identified and discussed. Finally, the mediator helps you and your spouse articulates you have made within the context of a Separation Agreement that can withstand scrutiny.

Where decisions have been made by you and your spouse in an atmosphere that promotes creative conflict resolution and cooperation, it is important that the divorce agreement be fair and reasonable towards you and your spouse. In general, Separation Agreements that are the product of cooperative negotiations are subject to fewer violations, and better stand the test of time than judgments or agreements that are the product of years of litigation.

All that said, the reality is that many spouses who are engaged in mediation obtain assistance from mediation-friendly attorneys who act as Mediation Coaches. Although Mediation Coaches do not attend sessions or interact with the mediator or other spouse, they often play an important role in the crafting of a final Separation Agreement. Unlike the mediator, who must maintain neutrality at all times, an attorney acting as Mediation Coach is loyal only to his or her client. Mediation-friendly attorneys acting this role understand how to educate their clients, so that clients become more effective mediation participants, leading to clearer goals and outcomes.

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