Couples who are looking to mediate their divorce are often confused about whether they still have to go to court. The answer is YES and you still have to file the necessary court documents.
“Where do I get them?”
“Do I need separate ones for the kids?”
“I’m not sure I can fill them out correctly. I don’t know how to do that by myself.”
Don’t worry, the mediator will help you. Completing and filing the “pleadings” is the easiest part of an early stage divorce mediation. I will help you complete the documents. It doesn’t take that long and it’s not hard if you know what the court wants to see. I’ve been helping with this for over twelve years and know what they want.
So what are the documents you need?
First, you need a summons and complaint for divorce to start the court process. The divorce won’t be final until 180 days from the filing of the complaint if there are children.
If there are no minor children then it’s 60 days.
There are exceptions to the 180 day rule. Ask me if you qualify.
Second, there is service of the summons and complaint on the other party and the completion and filing of the answer to the complaint.
We’ll do that in a mediation session.
Third, if there are minor children involved, there is the filing of the Motion to Opt-out of the Friend of the Court. Most couples want this – again, please call me to explain. When this motion comes on to be heard, both parties will have to be there. It’s a simple process.
At some point – it depends on the county – you will be called to a pre-trial conference. At this meeting, the court wants to know if you are going to trial or if you’re ready to settle the case.
If the mediation has gone well, and we’ve come to agreement on the issues, I will have prepared a formal settlement agreement and judgment.
Then you just hand these documents to the court and answer a few questions — And that’s it.
Just give me a call – I am happy to answer any of your questions about the process.