Mediation is a way for you and your spouse to reach common ground with the help of an impartial third party. Your mediator will help you resolve issues you can’t resolve on your own – but he or she won’t make the decisions for you. One of the main benefits of mediation is that it keeps your divorce’s outcome in your hands. You decide what’s best for you and your family… and in most cases, both parties walk away from mediation feeling reasonably satisfied with the outcome.
Planning a divorce? Check out our complete divorce checklist to prepare.
So what should you do to prepare for mediation?
Check out this divorce mediation checklist so you’re ready to negotiate when the time comes.
Divorce Mediation Checklist
When you enter into mediation with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you’ll most likely wrap up negotiations in a way that’s beneficial to both of you. You can make sure things go smoothly by being prepared.
Here’s a list of documents you need to bring to mediation with you:
- Bank statements
- Car, boat and recreational vehicle valuations
- Executive compensation statements
- Investment statements
- Life insurance policies
- List of property with significant value
- Loan and debt information
- Mortgage information
- Partnerships and business interest valuations
- Pay stubs
- Real estate property valuation
- Retirement account or pension statements
- Tax returns
- W-2 statements or 1099s
That may not be a complete document checklist – talk to your mediator to find out if you need to bring other documents, as well.
But aside from documents, here’s a checklist of what you can expect to cover during your mediation session.
Divorce Mediation Checklist for Child Custody
If child custody is one of the areas where you and your spouse can’t find common ground, your mediator will help you. Expect to talk about:
- Legal custody. Legal custody refers to the parent who will make decisions about education, religion and major healthcare issues. Usually, parents share legal custody.
- Physical custody. Physical custody refers to the time the kids spend with each parent. Your mediator will probably cover day-to-day schedules as well as extracurricular activities, holidays, birthdays, summer and school breaks, too.
Divorce Mediation Checklist for Spousal Support
If one of you is asking for spousal support and the other doesn’t agree – either on how much to pay or whether to pay it at all – your mediator will try to help you reach an agreement. Expect to discuss:
- How much money will change hands
- How long spousal support will continue
- Health insurance implications
- Life insurance implications
Divorce Mediation Checklist for Child Support and Expenses
The state of California has specific child support guidelines that require both parents to contribute to their kids’ upbringings. However, sometimes you can negotiate a higher amount than the guidelines would require. If you and your spouse are negotiating about child support and other expenses, you can expect to talk about:
- How much money one parent will pay
- Health insurance
- Medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance
- Who gets tax deductions
- Who benefits from life insurance policies
- Who pays school and college expenses
- Who contributes to “extras,” like birthday parties, class trips and other activities
Divorce Mediation Checklist for Property Division
Property division is right up there next to child custody when it comes to divorce’s most hot-button issues. When you and your spouse can’t agree on what’s fair when you’re dividing community property, your mediator will talk to you about:
- The value of your home
- Dividing household furnishings
- Property expenses, like mortgage payments, utilities, taxes and insurance
- Savings and checking accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Personal debt
- Business valuation
- Legal fees
- How you’ll resolve future disputes
Are You Planning a Divorce?
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we can help you. Call us at 209-546-6870 to schedule your consultation now.