In many counties in Iowa, mediation is a requirement for non-marital custody cases and divorces. Depending on where you live, you may need to attend a mediation session with a mediator and your ex-spouse or significant other. It is important to thoroughly read all court documents to determine whether mediation is a requirement in your county.
What is important to remember is that mediation is not binding. This means that even if you come to an agreement in mediation, you may be able to change your mind later if you no longer agree. The purpose of mediation is to get the parties talking to one another to see where there may be agreements, and where there is disagreement. With the help of an experienced mediator, sometimes parties are able to come to agreements on issues such as visitation, child support, or property settlements.
Coming to an agreement in mediation can sometimes mean that the parties will not need to have other court hearings to determine temporary issues such as custody of their children or finances. Mediation is also useful because sometimes it brings to light issues that the parties may not have thought about, such as who is keeping the marital home, how to split a 401(k), or whether they would like to contribute to their children’s college education.