In Missouri, divorce mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to work together with a neutral third party, known as a mediator, to reach agreements on various aspects of their divorce. The mediator helps facilitate communication, encourages cooperation, and assists the couple in finding mutually acceptable solutions. Here are the general steps involved in the divorce mediation process in Missouri:
- Initiating Mediation: Both spouses must agree to participate in mediation voluntarily. Either spouse or their attorneys can contact a mediator to begin the process.
- Choosing a Mediator: It’s essential to select a qualified mediator who is experienced in family law and divorce mediation. The mediator should be impartial and not represent either spouse individually.
- Mediation Sessions: The mediator will schedule sessions with the divorcing couple. The number of sessions required can vary based on the complexity of the issues and the couple’s ability to cooperate. During the sessions, the mediator facilitates discussions and helps the couple identify and address their concerns.
- Identifying Issues: The mediator assists the couple in identifying all the issues that need to be resolved, such as child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), property division, and debt allocation.
- Information Gathering: The spouses will provide relevant financial and other necessary information to the mediator to help in the decision-making process. This may include financial records, asset and liability statements, and any other pertinent documents.
- Negotiating Agreements: The mediator helps the couple negotiate and reach agreements on each issue. The goal is to find mutually satisfactory solutions that meet the needs and interests of both parties. The mediator may suggest various options or alternatives and facilitate discussions to resolve disagreements.
- Drafting the Agreement: Once the couple reaches agreements on all the issues, the mediator will draft a comprehensive written agreement, often called a “Mediated Settlement Agreement” or “Memorandum of Understanding.” This document outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by both spouses.
- Review by Attorneys: Each spouse should have their respective attorneys review the agreement to ensure their rights and interests are protected. The attorneys may suggest modifications if necessary.
- Court Approval: After the spouses and their attorneys are satisfied with the agreement, they will submit it to the court for approval. The court will review the agreement to ensure it is fair and reasonable. If approved, the agreement becomes a legally binding court order.
- Finalizing the Divorce: Once the court approves the agreement, the divorce can be finalized. The parties will proceed with the necessary paperwork and procedures to complete the divorce process.
It’s important to note that the divorce mediation process can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case. If you are considering divorce mediation, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney or a mediator familiar with the local procedures to guide you through the process effectively.
At Raza Family Law Solutions, we help families take a different approach to divorce/modification with mediation and collaborative work. We practice family law by effectively guiding clients through the process of disputes. Raza Family Law Solutions helps people do divorce better. For consultation with one of our attorneys, please contact us at (314) 314-5505.