What Do You Need to Prepare for Divorce Mediation?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a marriage does not work out. You and your spouse have agreed to part ways, but there are some things you just cannot agree on. Neither of you wants to go to court, so you decided to hire a mediator. Now, you are wondering what to do in preparation for divorce mediation.
You can prepare for divorce mediation by gathering documents and defining your mediation goals. Before mediation, compile all marriage-related legal and financial documents in one safe location. Determine what you want from mediation, including your ideal scenarios and hard nos involving your shared children, debt and asset division, and future legal obligations to your spouse. Finally, rest well and get yourself into a collaborative mindset.
Taking the time to thoroughly prepare before divorce mediation saves time, money, and frustration. Having an experienced family law attorney guide you through your divorce mediation preparation can put you in the best position for a positive outcome. At Mills & Anderson, we have nearly four decades of combined experience assisting people in divorce negotiations. If you are considering divorce mediation, contact us today.
Mediation provides a cost-saving and conflict-moderating option for people who are willing to cooperate but need assistance reaching final divorce terms. During mediation, a neutral third party—the mediator—guides a conversation between the parties, helping them come together to resolve their issues. A mediator has no decision-making authority, and you are not bound to any terms the mediator proposes.
Gather Information and Documents
As with many things, it pays to be overprepared for divorce mediation. Before divorce mediation, you should gather all legal documents related to your marriage, your children, your assets, your debts, and your financial situation. Some documents may be easier to find than others, and some may require outside assistance to locate. Reach out to whoever has or can obtain the documents as soon as possible to provide enough time to find them.
Nevada is a community property state, meaning that assets and debts obtained during the marriage are shared equally between the spouses. For the most part, only community property is relevant to divorce. If your spouse contributed to your separate assets or debts, however, like paying down your debt or improving a property you own, that item might become relevant. A family lawyer can advise you on your unique situation, but it is safer to err on the side of caution and at least locate documentation if you are unsure.
Once you have your documents together, organize them so you can quickly find anything you need. You or your attorney should also make digital and paper copies of all documents. Reach out to speak with an experienced Nevada divorce lawyer about your situation.
Divorce Mediation Information and Documentation Checklist
We have created a divorce mediation checklist to help you come to mediation prepared. If an item applies to you, ensure you have detailed information about it. Please disregard any item that does not apply to your situation.
Legal and marriage:
- Marriage certificate
- Prenuptial agreement
- Legal ID with current legal name
- Greencard, proof of citizenship, or proof of immigration status
- Addresses and phone numbers of each spouse
- Address and name of each spouse’s employer
- Birth or adoption certificates
- Summary of childcare expenses
- Medical documents showing unique diagnoses or special needs
- Addresses of any shared children not residing with you or your spouse
- Bank accounts
- Pensions or retirement accounts
- Residential property
- Rental or commercial property
- Summary of valuable personal property, such as jewelry, artwork, or equipment
- Vehicle loans
- Student loans
- Business loans
- Personal loans
- Credit card debt
- Property liens
- Money owed under a criminal or civil court order
- Any other outstanding debt
- Financial Disclosure Form
- Tax returns
- W-2s or wage reports
- Trust income
- Rental income
- Social Security income
- Social Security disability insurance
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Promissory notes, judgments, or other documents showing money owed to you
- Income from annuities
- Summary of your monthly expenses
- Summary of your intangible contributions to the marriage
Consider Your Mediation Goals
With your documents handled, your divorce mediation preparation can turn to planning for what you will discuss at mediation. At this stage, discussing the specifics of Nevada’s divorce and child custody laws with an experienced family lawyer is invaluable. Negotiating and settling your divorce means you may be able to deviate from some of the state’s default divorce laws, but understanding the underlying law allows you to depart from it with confidence.
Begin by identifying your mediation goals and consider what you and your spouse are entitled to by law. Decide what you are willing to negotiate and what is a hard no. Write down what is most important to you to ensure you address it during negotiations. Reflect on what you know or expect your spouse will want as well.
Our outcome-focused divorce mediation checklist may help guide you as you ponder your goals. Consider what outcome you prefer and what is realistic for each item. For example, should one spouse keep your shared home, or should you sell the house and divide the proceeds? Do you want to help pay down your spouse’s student loan debt? What might be a fair exchange if you do not? Should one spouse buy the other out of your shared business? Can or should you continue working together?
Divorce Mediation Outcome Checklist
- Name change
Property, asset, and debt division:
- Real property
- Personal property
- Retirement accounts
- Vehicles and equipment
- Shared or separate businesses
- Health insurance
- Situations unique to you and your spouse
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Divorce is a taxing process, regardless of the legal route you take. You would likely not be going to mediation if you thought you and your spouse could not reach a compromise, but you also would not be going if you and your spouse agreed on everything. As your divorce mediation approaches, go through each checklist one more time. Make sure you have all your documents ready to go and know how you want to resolve key issues.
It is essential you come to your divorce mediation with an open and collaborative mindset. The last thing you want is to cause a conflict at mediation because you were not well-rested or got caught up in a past issue.
Nevada Divorce Attorneys Who Know Divorce Mediation
At Mills & Anderson, we understand how difficult divorce is. If you and your spouse want to resolve your disagreements through mediation, reach out today. Our experienced Las Vegas family lawyers can assist with your preparation for divorce mediation, fighting to get you closer to the outcomes you want.