The ultimate goal of every divorce is to negotiate a final settlement agreement. But having a final settlement agreement isn’t the last step – you must still prepare the documents needed to file your divorce and ask the court to issue your Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.
As discussed in Step 3, it is possible for one spouse to hire a lawyer to draft a settlement agreement including a parenting plan and child support worksheet if needed. Because of conflict of interest laws, that lawyer will only represent one of you. This same lawyer can also prepare and file all of the other documents necessary to comply with the court rules and assist with any uncontested hearing which might be necessary for the judge to finalize your divorce.
If you successfully settle all of your issues through mediation completing the divorce process will be a two step process. First, your mediator will prepare a written summary of the terms you have agreed on, often called a memorandum of agreement. These agreements can include a parenting schedule or parenting plan if needed. Then you or your spouse will hire a lawyer who will incorporate the mediator’s summary into the rest of your divorce paperwork and it will become part of your divorce judgment. The paperwork will be filed by the lawyer who will assist you with finalizing your divorce including any uncontested hearing which might be necessary to finalize your divorce.
Using the forms provided, you can draft the documents needed to file and finalize your divorce. You should not choose this option unless you are willing to spend time researching the law as it relates to your specific circumstances and seeking legal advice as needed. Drafting your own agreements can save you money now, but you may end up paying more later to correct problems that could have been avoided. If you are planning to do it yourself, we encourage you to contact the clerk of the superior court of your county and ask about resources specifically for people who are filing for divorce without a lawyer.
You can also ask a lawyer unfamiliar with these forms to help you revise and complete your own filing documents and agreements, but by the time your lawyer gives you advice and reviews your documents you can end up spending more in fees than if they had prepared the documents for you.
We’ve got you covered. Visit A Modern Divorce by Taylor & Weber LLC for options to help you mediate issues, draft a parenting plan or settlement agreement, file your documents with the court, or simply provide legal advice.