Minnesota Divorce and Family Law Mediation
"Mediation" in Minnesota divorce proceedings involves both spouses meeting with a neutral third party (who is frequently a divorce attorney), usually at the office of the mediator to discuss and attempt to resolve the disputed divorce issues. Mediation can be accomplished at anytime during the divorce process, or even before the divorce proceedings are commenced. If no agreement is reached in mediation, the discussions from mediation cannot be used in Court (e.g. someone cannot say in Court, "he offered me $1,000.00 per month in mediation"). If a complete agreement is reached, such an agreement must be reduced to writing and incorporated into either a Marital Termination Agreement or Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage for the spouses to sign and then submit to the Court. If either or both of the spouses has an attorney, usually the attorney drafts such documents. Further, mediation can be accomplished with, or without the spouse's respective attorneys present.
Mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution is required in all divorce proceedings in Minnesota (except in some cases where domestic abuse is involved). Further, it is common practice to insert a "mediation clause" in most final divorce agreements and decrees that pertains, at a minimum, to issues regarding the minor children involved, if any. What this means, is if either parent is wanting to modify any provisions of the final divorce agreement regarding custody or parenting time, that parent must first attempt mediation prior to bringing a post-decree motion in Court to modify such provisions in the final divorce decree.