In preparing for divorce mediation and the first meeting with the mediator, it would be helpful for the parties to gather some basic information so that they can speak to many of the open issues that need to be resolved during the process. This article does not discuss child custody or parenting plans and therefore does not address the documents specific to the children. Rather, this speaks more to the parties being able to equitably distribute their property.
So what documents and information should the parties gather or prepare prior to meeting with the mediator? The below list are some, not all, of the items that will need to be reviewed during the mediation process.
As a reminder, the parties are entitled to complete transparency regarding their individual and joint assets and should be prepared to disclose all aspects of their finances to the other person.
In moving forward, the parties should be prepared to discuss the following items:
· their salaries; compensation and any other monies that are paid to them regularly from any source (i.e. unemployment, disability, pension, social security, etc.);
· any deferred income;
· any retirement, 401K, 403B, pensions
· bank accounts, stock accounts, investment accounts (type of account, value of accounts, jointly or individually held);
· life insurance (term or whole, value and beneficiaries);
· properties owned – including marital home; vacation homes; timeshares; etc. (plus equity in the home, amount owed on any mortgages, home equity loans)
· vehicles owned (cars, motorcycles, boats, etc.)
· debts owed (credit card, mortgage, student loans, etc.)
· pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements
· tax returns from prior years
· personal property information (jewelry, art, antiques)
Once the parties have gathered this information they should be prepared to discuss how they want to distribute the property and be prepared to disclose it to the other person.
For more information on what the mediation process entails, how to move forward with mediation or if mediation is the right process for you and your spouse, contact Sheree Donath at Sheree@DonathLaw.com.