What Happens During a Divorce Mediation Session?

Divorce MediationCouples contemplating a divorce may consider divorce mediation as a cheaper, more amicable method to divorce.  However, before selecting divorce mediation, couples may wonder what happens during a mediation session.  This is a brief description of what happens in a mediation session.

There are many issues that must be addressed in a divorce: 1) child support, 2) child custody, 3) alimony, 4) division of property; 5) maintaining health insurance, and 6) filing taxes and child dependency exemptions.  All of these topics must be addressed in mediation.

If you have children, of course one of the major issues to be addressed is custody and support.  Thus, a large amount of time will be spent addressing who will have custody, what the parenting schedule will be like, who will pay child support, and how much.  In addressing these issues, the parties will have consider:

  • How to share transportation of the children;
  • Holiday and vacation parenting time;
  • Children’s participation in extracurricular activities and sports, and how to pay for these activities; and
  • Weekly parenting schedule

But in addition to these basic topics, you will also have to address who will get the tax dependency exemptions, or will they be split, how to pay for college once your children are college age, and who will provide the medical insurance for the children.

In addition to the child-related issues, the spouses will have to address the financial aspects of divorce.  This includes whether there will be alimony, who will pay alimony, and how much.  This also includes a division of marital assets and marital debt.  The spouses will also have to consider who will maintain life insurance policies, and for how much, and also how to file taxes for the year they are divorcing.

These financial aspects will require spouses to make a financial disclosure to one another.  At the very least this will include completing a financial statement that includes an itemization of each spouse’s assets, liabilities, and expenses.  Spouses can also opt for a more extensive financial disclosure and exchange financial documents such as bank statements, retirement account statements, credit card statements, and other financial documentation.  Once spouses make this disclosure, the mediator can make recommendations as to the financial provisions of the divorce.

Typically, a couple’s divorce mediation can be resolved in 3 sessions or less.  It is an amicable process, and usually more cost-effective.  More importantly, the spouses are the ones who have the greatest say in the process, rather than a judge ruling on the divorce.  There are many issues to address in a mediation, but with the assistance of a mediator, this process can go quickly and smoothly, making the divorce process much less difficult, compared to the contested litigation divorces can result in.

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