How to Prepare for Divorce MediationApril 1, 2021
When you and your spouse make the difficult decision to end your marriage, neither party may know what the next step should be. Emotions typically run high regardless of whether both sides agree that divorce is the only option.
Let’s face it, change is not easy. However, deciding to move forward amicably through mediation can be the best option for both parties for several reasons. Divorce mediation offers both sides input and control over how marital property is divided. It is generally more cost effective and typically quicker than court litigation.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
If you and your spouse both commit to mediation, it is important that you are prepared and have all necessary information collected prior to your mediation sessions. It can be beneficial for each party to make a list of all the marital property to ensure that everything is covered.
Marital property consists of any assets or debt that accrued from the date of the marriage to the date of the separation. Any premarital assets or assets acquired after the date of separation are considered non-marital property in Pennsylvania and do not need to be divided as part of the divorce, except to the extend that an asset appreciated in value during the marriage.
Providing all supporting documentation of assets or debts to the mediator is important. It is possible that the mediator will provide a list of everything he or she requires prior to the mediation sessions; however, the below list is a great starting point.
Being prepared for your divorce mediation will allow for a smoother negotiation process and can help avoid added expenses if additional documentation is requested later.
- Current primary residence address and appraised value
- Address and appraised value of any additional real estate owned by you and your spouse
- At least the most recent five years of tax returns
- Other sources of income, such as pension, Social Security, etc.
- List and value of all furniture in the primary residence
- List and value of all vehicles (including boats) owned
- Value of jewelry, artwork, antiques, and like items
- Checking and Savings account statements from at least the last three years
- List and value of investments
- Medical insurance costs
- 401(k), pension or retirement account values
- Life insurance costs and value
- Mortgage and real estate taxes on all real estate owned jointly or separately by either party
- Cost of utilities
- Vehicle payments and insurance
- Childcare/Schooling current costs
- Bankruptcy payment schedule
Additional Liabilities and Debts
- Personal and Education loan payments and values
- Credit card and any other consumer debt
**If you and your spouse jointly own a family business, you will also want to provide profit and loss statements for the portion of the business that is jointly owned, or was acquired by either party during the marriage. At least five years of statements should be sufficient.
Divorce mediation can be successful and alleviate a lot of stress and emotional turmoil; however, its important that you and your spouse are prepared. It is also important that you both have realistic goals and understand that you may not get everything that you want. Mediation allows both parties the ability to negotiate their wishes versus having a court make the decision.
Have questions about divorce mediation? Reach out to the team at Daley Zucker!