Written by Jennifer Beckman, Beckman Steen & Lungstrom
There is quite a bit of truth to the saying “It’s cheaper to get married than it is to get divorced.” The costs associated with divorce send many couples to mediation to help them negotiate the end of their marriage presumably at less cost than a litigated divorce.
Mediation is an excellent alternative for couples who are able to communicate their position and civilly negotiate an agreement with a third-party. Mediation works quite well for couples who are clear about what they want in their agreement and have already worked out how they want most of their assets divided.
Divorce agreements must be fair and equitable.
Complications can arise when one or both of the parties are in a rush to dissolve the marriage. Either or both parties may assume that simply dividing the assets acquired in a marriage is the fairest way to divide them. This is not always true.
Valuing assets is often challenging. The true value of an asset is not always what it is worth at present. Some assets, such as retirement plans, are designed to be an investment and are valued much differently than a car. A mediator cannot value your assets. An attorney can have your agreement reviewed and validate that your assets are properly valued to prevent future surprises.
It is recommended that each party have their agreement reviewed by their own attorney prior to filing. A divorce agreement, whether mediated or litigated, should be solid and cover all anticipated challenges to avoid returning to court for modifications. An attorney review of an agreement is recommended to insure this.
A mediated divorce agreement may be an acceptable document. Having an attorney review your agreement will insure that you have a true fair and equitable document and that your marital assets have been fairly valued and divided. Contact our office to review your agreement and protect your assets.