Mediation Checklist

Consultation Checklist

Going through a divorce is never easy. Even in the best-case scenario, the divorce process might make you feel worn out and overburdened. Choosing the route of divorce mediation instead of litigation is an excellent first step in ensuring a less turbulent, quick, and cost-effective divorce as far as possible.

Divorce mediation is by far the most commonly suggested method for achieving marital divorce agreements. Judges, legal professionals, and mental health specialists agree that an interactive and affordable mediation process can lessen divorce’s financial and emotional toll while producing legal results that are nearly always preferable to the litigation process.

The good news about getting ready for mediation is that a skilled mediator will probably offer you a list of things (mainly documents) to carry to the first discussion and a synopsis of how the day will operate and what to expect. The mediator will usually request that you and your spouse provide particular documents before the mediation (typically digitally).


Items of Discussion during Mediation

Your mediator will probably create a list of things to cover during the session using the facts they have acquired about you during mediation preparation. Although each mediation is unique, you should be ready to cover the following topics:

Child Custody: Learn a little about the fundamentals of child custody before mediation and become acquainted with the phrases the divorce mediation expert will use during your session. If necessary, ask your mediator ahead of time about the legal aspects of child custody and what type of custody options may be available to the co-parents.

Child Support: Your mediator should be familiar with the state’s child support requirements and will typically follow the formula to establish the final child support amount. Prepare a discussion of any costs specific to your children, such as out-of-pocket medical bills or payments for extracurricular activities and the allocation of child tax credits among the parents.

Debt & Division of Property: Both partners will likely create a property and financial worksheet before mediation. You’ll decide during talks which assets are part of the marital property and which, if any, belong to each spouse separately. Following that, the divorce mediator will assist you in deciding how to divide your shared assets.

Spousal Support: Before going to your mediation session, you should thoroughly examine your income and financial commitments if you think you’ll require spousal support (also known as “alimony” or “maintenance”). If you don’t know where to begin, a divorce lawyer can explain the support computations and rules in your state to you.

Insurance Coverage: All of your insurance policies, including your medical, auto, property, and umbrella policies, should be discussed in terms of ownership and potential transfers. Make sure you’re prepared to discuss how each of you will continue coverage. In any divorce, health insurance typically becomes a key concern for at least one party.

Retirement Accounts: Retirement savings are frequently a couple’s primary financial resource after the marital home. It might be challenging to divide retirement funds during a divorce. Before going to mediation, each spouse must reveal their 401(k), 403(b), pension, and any other retirement accounts to the other. In most cases, a “domestic relations order” or “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO) is required to share a retirement account (DRO). If you want an order made for you, you and your spouse may have to employ a QDRO preparation service or a pension specialist.

Further Communication: The divorce mediator will assist you in ironing out the specifics. Based on this, you must be ready to talk about what happens if someone doesn’t comply with the terms of the agreement, the process to share tax details, who will shoulder the legal costs, how to settle disagreements, and the best communication channels moving forward.

Other Issues: Consider any extra challenges that are specific to your family. Are they a point of contention now, or will they be in the future. By discussing them now, you can prevent problems down the road.

Things to Bring to Your Mediation

Here is a list of what most divorce mediators will ask you to carry and some extras that may make your life simpler on mediation day.

Directions to the Location: Ask the mediation specialist about the closest parking options and plan your route to the mediation location if it’s to take place face-to-face rather than online to ensure that you arrive on time.

Relevant Contact Details: Bring contact information for people who matter, such as close relatives who could look after children, bankers, insurance brokers, financial planners, and other dependable counsel, whether you do so using your phone or address book.

Your Business or Personal Schedule: If you need to arrange mediation follow-up appointments or other sessions, be prepared to discuss your schedule. When discussing child custody issues, keeping track of your future obligations and having a handy calendar helps.

Court Documents: If you don’t have one already, put together a folder for yourself. This folder should have all the documents submitted to the court or any that the court has requested with regard to your divorce proceedings.

A List of Marital Property and Debts: It’s possible to streamline property division negotiations by creating a list of assets, including vehicles, bank accounts, real estate, valuable personal belongings, and loans. Make sure you have all the relevant documentation on hand.

Financial Statements: Gather your account records, including bank statements, loan records, credit card account records, and any other income statements you consider essential.

A List of Key Topics that Matter to You: When you are in the midst of a serious negotiation, it’s possible to forget things. It is best to create a list of the crucial issues you want to discuss and carry it with you. You might want to include a reminder, for instance, to talk about visitation on the children’ birthdays.

Payment Arrangement: You will have to pay the mediator unless you choose free mediation services (like a court-ordered mediation session). Ask the mediator about payment options before the session, and ensure you and your spouse agree on how to split the costs.

Good Health & Well-Being: Discussions and negotiations related to divorce could leave you mentally and emotionally exhausted by the close of the day. Get a good night’s rest the night before and pack food and drink in case the divorce mediator doesn’t supply it. Also, it’s best to dress in layers if the divorce mediator’s office is unbearably cold or has a stifling radiator.

Clarity of Thought and an Open Mind: Tolerance, an open mind, plus understanding what you would not compromise on. These things will help ensure that you make the best of the process while getting through the day with the least stress.

Our Seasoned Mediators are Here to Help

Lerner Conflict Resolution Center has been helping Californians find quick and mutually beneficial solutions to their disputes in an affordable, low-stress environment. We have the expertise and resources to provide mediation services across various branches of law including family law and divorce, probate and estate, civil small claims, elder care, and community disputes.

Document Checklist

Basic Financial Information
  • Joint Bank Statements
  • W-2s, paystubs and 1099s for Income Verification
  • Tax Returns For The Last Three Years
  • Tax Returns For The Last Three Years
  • Daily Cost of Living Expenditures (food, utilities, and others)
Marital Assets
  • Home Value Assessments
  • Cars
  • Furniture
  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks, bonds, funds
Marital Debts
  • Home Equity Loans
  • Mortgages
  • Bank Loans (e.g., car loans)
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Personal Loans
  • Loans on Life Insurance
Parenting Time/Child Custody Details
  • Children’s ages
  • You and your spouse’s typical work schedule
  • Daily schedule for each child
  • School Calendar and all vacation dates (spring and summer, Christmas, etc.)
  • Birthdays and other important family holidays
  • Medical records (if applicable)
  • Educational records,
  • Emergency contact person details
  • List of needed medical treatments (if applicable)
Legal Agreements (if applicable)
  • Previous child support/spousal support orders
  • The Prenuptial Agreement
  • Postnuptial Agreement
Insurance Payments
  • Life Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Car Insurance