When you file for divorce in Ohio, you might consider pursuing mediation to settle the case with less conflict than litigation. Mediation provides an avenue for couples to work together to reach a mutual agreement on issues related to their separation.
When you decide to pursue mediation, it is helpful to understand when those agreements become legally binding.
Reaching consensus through mediation
The mediation process requires both partners to work together with a neutral third party (a mediator) to reach agreements on property division, financial considerations and child custody elements.
Drafting a mediation agreement
When the parties reach agreements on the applicable factors, those decisions provide the foundation of the mediation agreement. The agreement is a detailed record of the decisions reached in mediation so that both parties clearly understand the situation and expectations.
Obtaining court approval for binding agreements
Once both parties review and agree to the mediation agreement, the court must approve it. Upon receipt of the court’s approval, the mediation agreement becomes part of the final divorce decree. That makes it a legally binding court order.
Adhering to the agreement
When a judge approves the mediation agreement and issues your divorce decree, that binds both of you to the terms of the agreement. If you find that you need changes to the agreement after the fact, modifications require court approval. Petition the court with the grounds for the modification and any supporting evidence if you need to adjust the agreement later.
According to Forbes, a litigated divorce can take at least a year. Choosing mediation instead will help you settle your divorce sooner, but you need to understand when that mediation agreement becomes binding. The more you understand, the easier it is to follow the laws.