Prepare for Divorce Mediation – Checklist
The Divorce Financial Specialist
The break-up of a marriage can be a very trying time. There are so many questions that need to be answered and often it is tough to know where to turn to find those answers. One of the toughest, most intimidating parts of a divorce can the financial aspect – thinking about how to support a family on what can sometimes be less than half of what the income was pre-divorce.
The role of a divorce financial specialist in mediation is to relieve these fears and keep the process as stress free as possible. By working with you throughout the mediation process, a divorce financial specialist can help you achieve many things, including:
The establishment of a stable, manageable budget that fits your financial situation. Now that your monthly income had changed, you will need to sit down and develop a budget. This may include the purchase of a new home, a new car, child care payments, etc. The financial expertise of a divorce financial specialist will allow you to determine what goals are realistic and how you can achieve them. This also involves informing you about important government tax benefits available to you.
The establishment of settlement goals. Part of the divorce process involves the splitting up of joint assets. A divorce financial specialist will work with you to devise a composed list of wants/needs.
The amicable division of all joint assets. Once in the mediation setting, the divorce financial specialist will help both parties settle the financial assets and come to a peaceable agreement.
By relying on a divorce financial specialist in mediation, you can avoid drowning in the costs of divorce and being financially unprepared after the divorce is complete. Divorce doesn’t have to be a costly matter that leaves you in debt and ill-equipped to tackle your new financial situation.
A successful mediation for separating couples is one in which they resolve all their disagreements and proceed to a separation agreement. Benefits of a mediated divorce settlement agreement include easing the emotional and financial stress, reducing the time, and safeguarding the children with an agreement both parties can live
The following checklist will help you avoid forgetting important issues and information during the mediation. Ideally, you have met or spoken with your divorce mediator prior to the date of mediation and provided some of this basic information. Regardless, it is always a good idea for you to have these with you, even if you will be attending the mediation with your lawyer and have previously provided these items to him or her:
1. Have basic information with you, including date of marriage, and the following documents for easy reference during the mediation:
- a list of real and personal property and what you believe is the fair market value of it;
- debt, including credit cards, mortgage statements, etc., and the balances on each;
- investment accounts, including retirement, pension, RRSPs, and regular investments, and the balances of each bank account both checking, savings and TFSA;
- If you and your spouse have children, include RESP accounts, records of extra ordinary expenses, etc. (Note: child support calculations are made based on your income recent pay stubs-it’s a good idea to bring at least at the last 3 months worth of pay stubs);
- Extended health benefit plan information, including the plan cost for you, and the cost of health benefit plan for the children alone, if you and your spouse have children from the marriage;
- any other document that is important to you and you wish to discuss with your spouse.
2. A list of the things and questions which are important to you to talk about and resolve.
3. An open mind. Regardless of what has taken place before this point, no one can change the past, including the mediator. It is best to look to the future and what you want to come out of the mediation so that you can evaluate the alternatives discussed during the mediation.
4. Be on time for the mediation. Even if your divorce mediation has been scheduled for the entire day, being on time will let you take advantage of every minute.