Mediation is a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve the issues presented in any divorce case expediently and on terms that both parties can live with. In this post, we’re going to share a divorce mediation checklist you can use to be better prepared for mediation.
Instead of having a Judge, that has very limited time to get to know you, your family, and your circumstances, a private mediator can spend as much time as is necessary to understand your case, your positions, and your goals.
In order for your mediation to be successful, you need to come prepared with documentation!
The most common stumbling block that prevents a private mediation from being successful is when documentation is missing or not disclosed.
You have to make sure that both sides have all of the financial documents prior to the mediation so that you can provide those to the mediator before or during the mediation.
The key to success: both sides and the mediator need to be informed of the total assets and debts that are at issue so that the mediator can guide the parties through to a final resolution.
At first glance, the following divorce mediation checklist can seem daunting, even overwhelming, but if you can put it all together and it will be worth your time! Just take it one section at a time and you will have it all knocked out.
With 55 years in business, at Owens & Perkins, we have worked closely with numerous spouses interested in an amicable resolution to their divorce or family law matter. We will handle all of the court filings and timelines with the Court and guide you through every step of the process.
To schedule your free mediation consultation, CLICK HERE
But, in order for us to help you, we need you to help us by providing the following documents:
DIVORCE MEDIATION CHECKLIST
1. Prenuptial Agreement, if one was entered into prior to marriage.
2. Postnuptial Agreement, if one was entered into after marriage.
3. A completed Affidavit of Financial Information for both parties if child support and/or spousal maintenance is at issue.
4. Last three years’ tax returns, personal and business returns, complete with all schedules, W-2s, 1099’s, and K-1s.
5. Copies of your most recent paystubs, for both spouses.
6. Appraisals or comparative market analysis for any and all real estate owned, including your primary residence, any vacation properties, or second homes, and /or rental properties and timeshares.
7. Documentation reflecting any and all debt on any piece of real property, including the primary mortgage, second mortgage, HELOC, tax lien, etc. \
8. Copy of your lease agreement, if you rent.
9. Copies of the lease agreements you have with tenants if you own rental properties.
10. The last three years of Profit and Loss Statements related to each rental property that you own, showing all rents received and expenses associated with each property.
11. Copies of all monthly or periodic bank, checking, savings, brokerage, and security account statements that you or your spouse have an interest in for at least the 6 months prior to the filing of the action through the date you exchange documents.
Retirement accounts and Deferred Compensation:
12. For this section of the divorce mediation checklist, you’ll need copies of all monthly or periodic statements and documents showing the value of all pension, retirement, stock option (reflecting grant date, vesting, exercise price, and prior exercises), annuity contracts, including IRA (Individual Retirement Plan), Roth IRA, Simple IRA, SEP (Simplified Employee Pension), 401(k), Simple 401(k), 403(b) (for government employees), 457 (for government employees), Profit Sharing Plans and ESOP’s (Employee Stock Ownership Plans), and all other retirement and employee benefits and accounts in which you or your spouse has or had an interest for at least 6 months prior to the filing of the action through the date you exchange documents.
13. A copy of the declaration page of each life insurance policy owned and copies of all monthly or periodic statements and documents showing the cash surrender value, face value, and premiums charged for all life insurance policies in which either party has an interest.
14. Copies of all business tax returns, balance sheets, profit, and loss statements, and all electronically stored information that may assist in identifying or valuing any business or business interest for the last 5 completed calendar or fiscal years and through the latest available date with respect to any business or entity in which either party has an interest or had an interest for a period beginning 5 years before the petition’s filing through the disclosure date.
Your Marital Estate Plan:
15. Copies of all documents related to your Estate Plan with your spouse, including Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and any trust created by you and your spouse.
16. Create a list of any items, such as gold or silver, or collections like guns or coins, that either you or your spouse have with a value over $5,000, including, but not limited to, household furniture, furnishings, antiques, artwork, vehicles, jewelry, and similar items in which either party has an interest, together with your estimate of current fair market value (not replacement value) for each item.
17. For each vehicle owned, a copy of the Title (or if you owe on it, a copy of the registration) and loan statements from the last six (6) months before the petition’s filing and through the date you exchange information, showing amount owed and the monthly payment for each vehicle. In addition, you want to have the year, model, number of miles, and any options on each vehicle so that you can run a Kelley Blue Book valuation (visit www.kbb.com). The Kelley Blue Book values tend to be more accurate if you enter the exact options on your vehicles and the condition of the vehicle.
A list of your sole and separate property:
18. A list of your sole and separate property (defined as property acquired before marriage, inherited, or received as a gift).
19. Copies of all monthly or periodic statements and all electronically stored information showing the balances owing on all mortgages, notes, liens, and encumbrances outstanding against all real property (mentioned above) and personal property in which you or your spouse has or had an interest for the period beginning 11 months before the divorce filing and through the date you exchange information.
If no monthly or quarterly statements or electronically stored information are available for this time period, the most recent statements or documents or electronically stored information that show this information (for both you and your spouse). If you don’t have the statements for your spouse, make a list of any and all accounts you know about, and make sure to get those documents from your spouse.
20. Copies of any and all credit card statements and any other statement of debt for all months for the period beginning 11 months before the divorce filing and through the date you exchange information.
IF CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED IN YOUR DIVORCE, YOU ARE ALSO GOING TO NEED TO HAVE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AVAILABLE FOR A SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION. HERE IS THE FINAL ITEMS IN THE DIVORCE MEDIATION CHECKLIST:
21. A copy of any past or current protective orders and underlying petitions involving you, your spouse, or a member of your household.
22. The name and address of each treatment provider and period of treatment involving you or your spouse for psychiatric or psychological issues, anger management, substance abuse, or domestic violence, occurring within five (5) years before the divorce filing.
23. The date, description, location, and documentation of any criminal charge against or conviction of you, your spouse, or member of your household occurring within (ten) 10 years before the divorce filing.
24. The date, description, location, and documentation of any Department of Child Safety investigation or proceeding involving you, your spouse, or a member of your household occurring within ten (10) years before the divorce filing.
25. Proof of court-ordered child support and spousal maintenance actually being paid in any case other than this one.
26. Proof of all medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums paid by you for any child listed or referenced in the divorce petition. You may need to contact your HR department to obtain the cost just for the children.
27. Proof of any child care expenses paid by you for any child listed or referenced in the divorce petition including invoices, billing statements, and receipts showing the amount being paid.
28. Proof of any expenses paid by you for private or special schools or other particular education needs of a child listed or referenced in the petition.
29. Proof of any expenses paid by you for the special needs of a gifted child or a child with a disability who is listed or referenced in the petition.
We hope you found this divorce mediation checklist helpful and we look forward to working with you and your spouse!