As with any important undertaking, preparation is essential. So it is with divorce mediation.
Here are four tips to help you prepare, get well organized and enter the mediation process with confidence.
1. Talk to your spouse
If you have decided on mediation as the best divorce option, you must first discuss the idea with your spouse. Mediation is a cooperative process that focuses on teamwork and open communication. If this process is to work, you and your spouse must agree to use negotiation and compromise to create a divorce settlement agreement.
2. Prepare a list of your concerns
Take your time with this. Divide the concerns you have into groups: parenting plan, child support, spousal support, division of assets and debts. Write everything down so that you will not forget important points when you begin negotiations with your soon-to-be-ex.
3. Gather financial documents
You will need to bring your financial documents to mediation. A list could be extensive depending on your financial circumstances, but it should include basics such as:
– Completed financial affidavits
– Tax returns with W-2s
– Bank account statements
– Retirement account statement
– Mortgage statement
– Credit card statements
– Statements for outstanding loans
– Life insurance policy
4. Set your terms
What do you want out of the divorce? What do you need? You should make a separate list of assets such as real estate, vehicles, furniture, jewelry and collectibles. Do you want to keep the family home? What kind of monthly budget will you need? Keep in mind that you will not get everything you want. However, the peaceful and respectful mediation atmosphere will aid you and your spouse in creating a fair settlement agreement that will be satisfactory to you both.