How to Prepare for Mediation – a Checklist
As you begin the divorce mediation process, you mediator will ask both of you to furnish certain information about your personal and family finances, work schedule and living arrangements (especially if child custody issues are at stake), and any other specific data the mediator deems relevant in resolving your divorce.
It is in your best interest to provide this information in an organized and prompt manner – not because your mediator merely asks you to, but because by doing so, you enable him or her to provide you with the best possible guidance. When you negotiate with facts and information, you reduce the chances for misunderstanding and increase your chances of succeeding in your goal of ending your marriage peacefully.
What documents and other records should you have on hand? Please feel free to print this out and cross items off this list as you get ready to start the mediation process.
Information Commonly Requested in Divorce Mediation:
Basic Financial Information
- W-2s for Income Verification
- Last 3 Years of Tax Returns
- Daily Cost of Living Expenses (Food, Utilities, etc.)
- Medical Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Car Insurance
Legal Agreements (if applicable)
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Postnuptial Agreement
- Previous child support or spousal support orders
Assets & Debts
Include data about when assets were acquired and their current values and when debts were incurred and their current outstanding balances.
- Home Value Assessments
- Bank accounts
- Personal property
- Stocks, bonds, funds
- Other Real Estate
- Business Interests
- Retirement Accounts: Pensions, IRAs, and 401Ks
- Mortgages & Home Equity Loans
- Bank Loans (e.g., car loans)
- Loans on Life Insurance
- Personal Loans
- Credit Card Debt
Parenting Time/Child Custody Information
- Ages of children
- Typical work schedule of you and your spouse
- Daily schedule for each child
- School calendar vacation dates (spring break, summer, Christmas, etc.)
- Dates of important family holidays and birthdays
- Educational records, medical records, if applicable
- Who to contact in medical emergencies
- List of required medical treatments, if applicable
- Psychological reports or educational psychological testing results
- Current transportation arrangements (who picks up/who drops off from school, etc.)
- Religious preferences and history of religious upbringing
- Ages of your children
- Children’s basic expenses
- Daycare or School or College Tuition & Expenses
- Cost of special needs or gifted talents programs
- Cost of Children’s sports or music lessons
- Income from all sources
- Cost of living adjustments
- Work history
- Income information
- Length of marriage
- Medical documentation if health precludes spouse from working
Of course, depending on the specific issues involved in your divorce, you may need to provide additional information than what is noted here. However, the above list should get you started in the right direction. Your mediator will provide further direction at the appropriate time.
Lastly, remember that mediation is a marathon – not a sprint. True, it’s typically faster than litigation. But it’s not going to happen overnight. You need to have the right attitude – one that is focused on negotiation, compromise and solutions – in order to make this work.
Considering mediation in New Jersey?
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