If you are considering divorce mediation, it is helpful to consider the issues that you will address in mediation ahead of time so that you can prepare.
Financial Disclosure – As part of the mediation process, couples must provide full financial disclosure. Prepare for mediation by gathering information and related documentation showing income, assets, debts, investments, expenses and any other financial obligations you and your spouse may have.
Child Custody and Visitation – Parents will have to agree on parenting time arrangements. Start by thinking about a custody and visitation plan that works for your family considering what is in the child’s best interests. Where will your child spend weeknights and weekends or vacations and holidays? How will transportation will be handled between the two households? A child’s age, where they attend school, and how far apart the parents reside are just an issues to consider when trying to reach an agreement so that both parents can maximize time with the child. An experienced mediator can help you and your spouse reach an agreement that works well for your family.
Division of Marital Property – The division of marital assets and debt is an important component of the divorce process. For example, couples will have to decide how they will handle the family home – will they sell it and split the proceeds or will one party take sole ownership? If they decide to sell the home, how will they share expenses to get the house ready and on the market? Who will pay the mortgage and maintenance on the home until it is sold. If, on the other hand, one party wishes to keep the home, will they be able to finance the home in their own name? The division of marital assets and debt can be complicated. It is important to think about each person’s goals and try to negotiate an equitable agreement with he help of an experienced mediator.
Spousal Maintenance – Sometimes alimony or spousal maintenance is appropriate especially in cases where one spouse has stayed home to raise children while the other spouse has earned the family income. Temporary alimony might be needed so that one spouse can get the training or education they need to reenter the job market or, for couples that have been married for a long duration, permanent alimony may be appropriate.
Division of Retirement Accounts – Retirement accounts must be divided in a divorce being mindful of the tax treatment different accounts may have. To divide workplace retirement plans such as 401k and pension plans require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A mediator who is also a family law attorney can help you negotiate the division of marital assets and debt and complete the necessary documentation.
Insurance Coverage – Couples must also consider how they will handle health insurance coverage when children are involved. If one spouse will be paying child support or spousal maintenance, acquiring life insurance coverage to secure the support payments is key.