Divorce mediation can be a less stressful and more cost-effective alternative to traditional divorce litigation. It allows couples to come to their own agreements on issues such as property division, child custody, and support with the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator. However, starting the divorce mediation process without being fully prepared can cause unnecessary difficulties and delays. That’s why it is essential to have a comprehensive checklist before starting the mediation process.
Here are some items to include on your checklist:
1. Gather all financial documents.
Before starting mediation, both spouses must have a clear picture of their financial situation. This means gathering all financial documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, paycheck stubs, retirement account statements, credit card statements, and mortgage statements. Make sure you have copies of these documents for both parties.
2. Create an inventory of assets.
Each spouse must create an inventory of all assets, including real estate, personal property, vehicles, and investment accounts. This inventory will help both parties determine how to divide assets during the mediation process.
3. Determine your priorities.
Before the first mediation session, make a list of your priorities. What is most important to you? What items are negotiable? Knowing your priorities will help you focus on what is most important in the agreement.
4. Consider child custody and support.
If you have children, determine the custody arrangement that works best for your family. This could include a shared custody arrangement, a joint custody arrangement, or primary custody for one parent. Also, consider child support payments, including who will pay and how much.
5. Think about spousal support.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be a factor in your divorce. Determine if spousal support will be paid, who will pay it, and for how long.
6. Consider the tax implications.
Divorce has significant tax implications. Consider consulting with a tax professional to determine the tax consequences of your divorce settlement.
7. Be open to negotiation.
Remember, mediation is about compromise and negotiation. Be prepared to listen to your spouse’s concerns and be willing to negotiate to reach a fair agreement.
Starting divorce mediation without being fully prepared can cause unnecessary delays and stress. This comprehensive checklist will help you ensure that you have all the necessary documentation, have thought about all the important issues, and are ready to start the mediation process.
With careful preparation and an open mind, mediation can be a positive experience that leads to a fair and amicable divorce settlement.