As Susan Ingram writes in this excellent blog posting, once couples have made their various decisions during our mediation sessions, I proceed to have their settlement agreement drafted. This is the document that memorializes everything they’re agreed upon.
It’s important for the agreement to be as detailed as possible, to avoid problems in the future. Yet, especially when a couple will be living under the agreement for many years (such as when they have young children), it also needs to provide some flexibility for future changes.
Often, there are “triggering events,” which can be identified in the agreement as times when a couple may need to review or renegotiate what they’ve agreed upon. Ideally, they will be able to work it out on their own, but if not, the agreement provides that they return to mediation.