Ways That You Can Prepare for the First Divorce Mediation Session
Essential Documents or Traits to Bring:
If your mediation session is going to be in person rather than online, make sure you know where the meeting is located and available parking options to you.
- Contact information
Make sure to bring all necessary contact information with you such as close family members who may care for children, insurance brokers, bankers, financial planners, and other trusted advisors.
- Your schedule
Be ready to discuss your schedule with your mediator to be able to schedule future sessions or other appointments. Mediation is on your time so it is important to let the mediator know your availability. Keeping a record of all future commitments is important especially in the case of discussing child custody matters.
- Court documents
Prepare a file of each document that has been filed with or required by the court.
- Lists of assets, debts, and property
Bring a list of items such as vehicles, bank accounts, property, valued personal items, and loans can facilitate property division discussions.
- Financial statements
Gather any and all paperwork from your accounts such as bank statements, credit card documents, loan documents, and other financial information you believe is relevant.
- List of key topics
It is easy to let all your important conversation topics slip your mind as soon as you enter your session, Making a list of all the key topics you would like to discuss you want to cover can help you stay organized and not waste time or money.
Unless the mediation service is free (such as our 30 min free consultation), you need to pay your mediator. Before the session discuss payment methods and make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about how to share the fees.
- A GOOD MINDSET
Coming into the session with a good mindset allows for a fair agreement.
What to Expect to Discuss in Your First Meeting
- Property and debt division
Before attending the mediation session both spouses should complete a detailed financial and property worksheet. During the negotiations, you will determine what property belongs to the marital estate and what belongs to the individual spouses. The mediator will help you determine how to split the marital assets.
- Retirement accounts
Retirement accounts are often the couple’s largest asset. Dividing retirement accounts can be complicated. Both spouses much disclose 401K, 403B, pension, and any other retirement accounts to their spouse before mediation. If you want to divide a retirement account, you’ll need to create a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) or domestic relations order (DRO). You and your spouse might need to hire a pension expert to create an order for you.
- Spousal support
If you believe you will need a spousal support (alimony or maintenance), you should analyze your income and financial obligations before attending your mediation session.
- Child custody
Before you attend mediation you should gather information about child custody basics and familiarize yourself with the custody terms the mediator will use in your sessions.
- Child support
Your mediator will know the state guidelines for child support and will use the formula to determine the final amount of child support. Be prepared to discuss any expenses that may be unique to your child, such as out-of-pocket medical costs or fees for extracurricular activities, as well as each parent’s responsibility for child tax credits.
- Insurance coverage
You will want to discuss ownership and possible transfer of all policies you have such as medical, vehicle, property, and umbrella. When couples divorce, health insurance particularly becomes a significant issue for one spouse… make sure you are ready to discuss how each of you will maintain coverage.
- Future communication
The mediator will help you work out the details. Be prepared to discuss issues like what will occur if someone does not meet the requirements in agreement, how you’ll exchange tax information, who will pay legal expenses, how to resolve disputes, and the most efficient way to communicate going forward.
- Any other topics that may occur
Make sure to consider any additional or unique issues to your family. Consider future or present sources of disagreement. It is better to discuss them now as they may help you figure out issues down the road.
Divorce is almost always difficult if you and your spouse cannot agree on a fundamental issue like property division, financial support, or child care and custody. If both spouses agree on the bigger issues at hand, mediation can go smoothly, and it is a less expensive alternative to battling it out within a court room.
It is important to be prepared for mediation because when you walk in organized with all the necessities it will allow for more confidence and avoid wasting time. This will also allow an increase in the chances of a more fair outcome.
Heinig, M. A. (2021, April 30). Divorce mediation checklist: How to prepare for your first session. Www.Divorcenet.Com. https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce-mediation-checklist.html