Understanding Various Clauses to Include in Divorce Agreement: 3 Things to Discuss
People change and so do relationships. Although everyone hopes that their marriage will last, approximately 1 in 3 marriages in Australia will end in divorce. If reconciliation is impossible, and divorce seems like the only option left, get the ball rolling by discussing the terms of a divorce decree with a lawyer. A mediation clause is particularly popular, as it basically encourages former couples to go through mediation rather than the divorce courts if amendments and changes need to be made to the divorce agreement in the future. If you're interested in including a mediation clause in your divorce agreement, discuss the following 3 terms with your lawyer.
The Types of Disagreements and Disputes Covered
Although future disputes and disagreements should go through mediation before getting handled by the divorce courts, it's wise to discuss the types of disagreements and disputes that should be covered by the mediation clause. For example, you might agree that child custody arrangements should go through mediation, but not child support payments and terms.
Binding Arbitration for Starting Mediation or Failure to Reach an Agreement
While a mediation clause encourages both parties to go through mediation rather than the divorce courts, it's also a good idea to include some type of binding arbitration to the mediation clause that basically sets out a timeline or a procedure that the mediation should follow. A binding arbitration can include when mediation should be started and how long both parties need to participate in mediation before proceeding to take the case to court. It should also outline the procedures that each party should follow should they fail to reach an agreement during mediation. For example, determine whether a second mediation attempt should be held in the future or whether the dispute should be brought immediately to court.
The Distribution of Costs Incurred from Mediation
Although mediation is much less costly than taking the dispute to court, there are still expenses and costs associated with going through mediation. The mediation clause should specify how the cost will be distributed between both parties. For example, consider whether the party bringing up the dispute should pay for mediation or whether the mediation will be paid equally among both parties.
Your lawyer will help you better understand how a mediation clause works, and the types of terms you should include with the clause to best protect your position and situation. They'll help you work through the divorce so that you and your former spouse can reach a fair compromise.