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What happens after mediation in MA divorce?

Both my husband and I are interested in looking into mediation for our divorce, primarily because we hope to save money on the process. What I don't get is how the process ends, assuming we can reach agreement on the important issues, how does our agreement lead to us being divorced? And if
we have to go to divorce court in any case, what is the point? Where will the big savings come into play? Thanks.

 
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What happens after mediation? Where are the savings?

Once the parties have mediated and identified and resolved all the necessary issues in a way expected to be approved by the court, the necessary documents are prepared by the mediator including, in Massachusetts, a joint petition for divorce, an affidavit of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, financial statemens for each party, a separation agreement and, if applicable, child support guideline calculations and alimony provisions. This package of executed documents is filed (presented at the Probate Court Clerk's office) and a court date is assigned. The date is usually within about three weeks of filing. The couple comes to court on the assigned date and, when their name is called, they stand before a probate judge who reviews the documents and asks certain questions of the parties. If the documents are in order and the responses to the judge's questions are appropriate, the judge will indicate his/her approval and dismiss the couple. Shortly thereafter, the clerk's office will notify the parties with a document called a "Judgment Nisi," which, among other things, will provide the date that the divorce becomes final. Under these circumstances, the waiting periods total 120 days from the date of the court appearance. At Parker Mediation, there are no retainers and payment is per-session at an hourly rate. The parties control the timing and interval between sessions. Most completed mediations cost less in total than one lawyer's divorce retainer fee, and far less than two lawyers' retainers. There are no hearings or motions and interim court time to pay for in mediation. See ParkerMediation.com for more information about mediation and its financial benefits.

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