What is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

What is a Memorandum of Understanding? What is an MOU? What impact does it have and how can it be used after family mediation?

At the end of a mediation process, the mediator can draw up two documents to help move matters forward. The first, if financial issues have been discussed in mediation, is an Open Financial Summary (OFS) which summarises the financial disclosure that was exchanged in the process and is signed by the parties.  This document, like the disclosure that has been provided is “Open” which means it can be referred to and relied on outside of mediation, including in front of a judge.

The other document is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  This document is prepared by the mediator and is approved by the parties.  The MOU outlines options and plans discussed in mediation and why those options were considered appropriate.  This can include how assets are going to be shared along with pensions, maintenance payments, school fees and children’s arrangements such as where children will live, how they will spend time with each parent and how the parents hope toco-parent.  

The MOU is a nonbinding document so it is not enforceable and is “Without Prejudice” which means it cannot be referred to in front of a judge.  The MOU is agreed by the parties to the mediation so that they can then take legal advice on the fairness of the options explored.  If both are happy to proceed after having had legal advice, lawyers will confirm that an agreement has been reached and can use the MOU as a blueprint for creating a formal a parenting plan or to help them prepare a financial consent order to ensure the financial agreement becomes legally binding once approved by a Judge.  

If you would like to know more about mediation, email us at hello@familymandm.co.uk or call us on0800 206 2258 or book a free call at a time that suits you via our website www.familymediationandmentoring.co.uk

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