Now that you have made the wise decision to mediate your divorce case, it’s time to do your homework. As you know, mediation provides a mechanism for disputing parties to reach an amicable and well thought out resolution to a divorce, without having to depend on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. In order to get as much out of your mediation as possible, you need to first do some basic research.
To be sure, divorce mediation is not a formal process like a contested divorce trial would be, but you should prepare your case as though you were going to trial. Whether you will be paying support to your spouse in the form of Alimony or Child Support, or whether you will be the recipient of that support, you must be able to provide the divorce mediator with the following information:
- Pay Stubs for both spouses for the past four (4) pay periods;
- W2 Statements for the past three (3) years;
- Tax Returns for the past three (3) years;
- Bank Statements for all account for at least the past year, especially the most recent statement;
- Retirement account statements showing the current balances in your accounts;
- Life insurance policies and the most current statements;
- Deeds to any real estate that you may own or have an interest in;
- Most recent credit card statements evidencing your current debt;
- Mortgage statements evidencing your debt;
- Other loans or promissory notes again evidencing your debt;
- If you are self-employed in any capacity, include any bank account statements and tax returns for your business for the past two (2) years together with your incorporation documents;
- List of all assets that you both own in excess of $ 1,000, and describe who has title to those assets, i.e., joint or individual;
- Documentation regarding medical insurance coverage. The spouse who provides medical insurance coverage should find out from their human resource department or medical care provider, directly, how much it would cost to maintain coverage for the other spouse based on a triggering event, that being your divorce;
- Documentation on any stock options or other benefits that you may have at work; and
- Utility and other expense statements showing what you pay in bills each month.
In addition, most mediators will give you a financial intake sheet to take home and fill out at your first mediation session. Ask for this financial intake sheet in advance. Fill out what you can and bring it in to the first mediation session. This will get you thinking about your assets and liabilities before the mediator even opens their mouths.
Finally, feel free to discuss custody, visitation, support and the division of your assets and liabilities with your spouse prior to your first mediation session. However, do not argue about anything and just listen to what your spouse has to say, respect their position and take notes. Everything will be resolved in mediation.
Edward L. Amaral, Jr.
You must be logged in to post a comment.