What Documents Should I Prepare for My Divorce Mediation?
When you’re getting divorced, you have two major considerations: your parental rights and your property rights. To protect your property rights, you need to have specific knowledge of your family finances. That requires documentation of both parties’ incomes as well as a full accounting of all your assets and your obligations. If any assets or obligations remain hidden during your mediation, you can end up with a less than optimal settlement. Therefore, as soon as you set your mind on getting a divorce, or suspect your spouse’s mind is set, you should start gathering these documents:
- State and federal tax returns
- Pay stubs
- W-2s and/or 1099s
- Real estate deeds
- Bank account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Brokerage account and other investment statements
- Life insurance policies
- Other insurance policies
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage statements
- Secured and unsecured loan statements
You should also make a list of significant items of personal property, such as vehicles, jewelry, art, and furnishings, which might need to be appraised. Once you have all this information, review it thoroughly and put it in a safe place. And when you come to your first mediation session, make sure to leave it home.
Yes, that’s right. Leave the documents with the figures and decimal points home. At your first mediation session, you’ll be talking about the big picture: your main goals for your settlement and your life after divorce. Nothing stalls a discussion on the important points more than an argument over details we can work out later. During mediation, you should be engaging with your soon-to-be-ex about matters of great importance; you should not have your eyes down on a pile of papers you’re sifting through so that, after 15 minutes have passed, you can say, “Aha! I told you that ring was worth $700!”
At Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc., our mediators are determined to help you reach a fair mediated settlement. We can lay the groundwork with ballpark figures, and if disagreements arise about how much something is worth, we know how to find solutions and make adjustments later to fully protect your rights. It’s more important for you to be engaged in discussion so you can be happy with the key points of your final settlement.
If you are considering mediation for your New York divorce, Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. can help. Call us at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.