Whether your case is a divorce, legal separation, allocation of parental rights, contempt, or a modification of a previous order, you will most likely be required to complete mediation before you reach the final hearing. The purpose of mediation is to try to reach a settlement in the case. If you are able to reach an agreement on at least some of the issues, the mediator will write a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)*. It is important to understand that the MOU is binding once it is signed by both parties. It will be filed with the Court and become the Court’s order once the judge has reviewed it. You will be required to follow the MOU the same as any other court order, so make sure you fully understand what you are agreeing to in the MOU before you sign it.
*The MOU does not have to be a complete agreement. You may be able to agree on some issues but not others. The MOU can cover the issues you agree on and you can narrow the focus of the final hearing to the issues that are still contested.
If you have any questions about an MOU, please contact me to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation as it is very important that all your questions be answered before you sign it.