Mediation


#1

When my husband left me I hired a lawyer because all of our money was in his IRA. He moved some of the money around and I needed to know that he would not be using it for his new business. A court order was given that neither party shall diminish the accounts (except for certain items) and that the parties shall keep an accounting to give each other monthly.

There was still the question of how I would pay my monthly bills and we finally made some agreements on our own that worked for us.

Our attorneys have gone back and forth trying to establish a suitable interim distribution. My husband and I came to an agreement and my lawyer said we could try it to see if it would work . However, it could not be drawn up as a legal document. She had prepared an interim distribution to take to court, which I declined to do when she said we could try our agreement.

Now, I have received notice that we are scheduled to meet with a mediator. My husband insists that his lawyer has told him we do not need a mediator and our “agreement” can be made a legal document if I sign it. My lawyer says it must be mediated to be legal and that I am in danger of losing my husband’s
retirement assets and an equitable distribution. My husband claims there is a written contract that he signed with his company when he retired that I would receive a widow’s pension and that he would make a copy of it for me.

Is mediation mandatory in this case ? Is the “agreement” they want me to sign the same as an interim distribution? If my husband files for divorce, which he claims he does not want will there be equitable distribution at that time?


#2

If you and your husband already have an agreement mediation is not necessary. The point of mediation is to help the parties reach and agreement, which it sounds like you already have.

The agreement may be an interim distribution, if it only deals with some of the property, it is a final distribution if it settles all issues.

The divorce can take place before equitable distribution has been decided. So long as you each have a claim pending for the same at the time of the divorce, your rights to Equitable Distribution will not be affected by the divorce.