How can the terms of the divorce be worked out?

The terms of the Final Decree of Divorce (the legal document dissolving marriage) are either determined by agreement of the parties or, in the event the parties are not able to agree, by the judge or jury.

During the 60 day waiting period, the parties with their lawyers attempt to negotiate the terms of the divorce (division of property and debts, custody/visitation of the children, child support, etc). The parties can negotiate directly with each other or allow the lawyers try to work it out – or a combination of both approaches. Another alternative is mediation. During mediation, the parties meet with a mediator – a neutral third party who assists the parties and tries to reach an agreement. Generally your lawyer will also be present a mediation. The idea is to settle the terms of your divorce in a less expensive and less caustic way.

Some parties are not able to reach an agreement on all or some of their divorce issues, even after negotiating informally outside of court or formally through mediation. In these instances the parties’ attorneys will present any unresolved matter to the judge or jury, who then make a final decision.

If the spouses reach an agreement, one of the lawyers will write up the agreement as part of the Final Decree of Divorce and both parties and their lawyers will sign it. If the parties agree on the final terms of the divorce, the judge will sign the Decree after a very short appearance in court by one of the parties accompanied by their attorney.