9.7Susan M. Hais

Not all asset division needs to occur within the confines of a courtroom. In fact, it benefits both parties if they can come to some agreement through mediation as it is typically the more affordable alternative. However, you should never enter mediation empty-handed. You should always go in having all the information you have available in order to successfully – and fairly – negotiate your financial needs.

When heading to mediation for financial matters, be sure to bring the following:

  • Statements for all accounts. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment accounts. This should include statements for when the divorce was first filed and current balances.
  • Statements for all debts. Divorce isn’t just dividing the money, it is also about dividing marital debt. Like with accounts above, you should have statements for when the case was first filed and current statements on debt such as credit cards, mortgages, and car loans.
  • Tax returns. You will want to bring a copy of your tax returns to the table. You may also want to bring pay stubs if you intend to negotiate child support during this meeting.
  • Stock ownership. If you own stock outside of any investment accounts, you will want to bring the ownership documents as well.
  • Property appraisals. If you have had any expensive jewelry or real estate appraised for insurance purposes, you will first want to get a new appraisal for your divorce.
  • A rough budget. In meditation, you are negotiating to make sure that you will have enough to live on after the divorce. In order to negotiate effectively, you will need a rough budget knowing how much you need to live per month. Assess your needs, draw up a budget, and you will know how much to fight for in terms of assets as well as any spousal maintenance.

While all of the above are necessary for preparation in mediation, there are so many other issues that can spring up during it. Sometimes, an agreement can’t be reached and you will be forced to go to court. If you are preparing for divorce and hope to settle it in mediation, contact us today. We can help you prepare and represent your interests in the divorce process.