An increasingly large number of parties who are litigating in family courts in Louisiana are not represented by attorneys. Many times, these “pro se” or “self-represented” litigants choose not to pay the costs and fees normally associated with retaining an attorney for a litigated divorce. Thus, they decide to handle their issues in family court themselves without direct representation by attorneys. As a result, these litigants will usually appear before a private mediator who will work with the parties to develop a custody and visitation schedule and a detailed settlement agreement. The parties will then take the settlement agreement, often referred to as a “Memorandum of Understanding” or MOU, directly to the court or to their attorneys if they have hired attorneys.
You can select a mediator of your own without initially going to court or you can go to court and the judge will appoint a mediator. If you are able to communicate effectively with your spouse or partner, you will often able to meet with a mediator for a few hours and walk away with a settlement agreement that you reach with the other party. Your ability to communicate with the other party will result in savings of hundreds or thousands of dollars and a longer lasting agreement. This cooperation is better for children your relationship and for you and your spouse or partner.