If you have found yourself facing divorce, you know that the journey ahead is bound to be challenging. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex spouse are cooperating with each other and have found yourself on good terms, it is likely that disagreements will surface.
Mediation is one important component of divorce. In fact, Minnesota law requires couples participate in mediation before they can appear in court. This process, known as alternative dispute resolution services (ADR) can help couples resolve conflicts regarding the care of minor children or division of property. When couples reach agreements during mediation, the proceedings are often much more civilized when it is time to appear in court.
You also need a trusted attorney by your side to guide you and advocate for your interests. The Bailey Law Office is here to help with your divorce and family law needs. We can provide you with the guidance you need to prepare for a successful mediation session so you can ease the tension and stress that often accompany divorce proceedings.
How Should You Prepare for Divorce Mediation?
Compile a List of Assets: Make a list of all property owned by both you and your spouse such as primary residences, vacation homes and timeshares. Research the market value on these properties so you are armed with this information when negotiating ownership during mediation. Make copies of appraisals of your properties or sales of homes that are similar in size and condition in the neighborhood to justify your fair share of the property.
Know Your Balances: Don’t walk into mediation unprepared. Research and tally all balances in savings, checking and money market accounts. Jot down the balances of all outstanding loans and mortgages. Also, bring documentation of balances in pension accounts, the value of retirement plans and balances of life insurance policies. Obtain the Blue Book value of each vehicle owned by you and your spouse, too, to help streamline the process of dividing assets fairly.
Bring Proof of Income: Finances play a large part in negotiating divorce settlements. Bring copies of your state and federal tax returns, W-2 statements as proof of income or a recent paystub. A paystub is very telling when discussing deductions for health insurance for dependents.
Gather a List of Expenses: Don’t leave any T’s uncrossed during divorce proceedings. Carefully comb through your expenses and make a list of routine household expenses, utilities, credit card payments and outstanding loans and mortgage amounts.
Determine Preferences: Especially if children are involved in divorce proceedings, discuss with your attorney your preferences prior to entering into mediation. An experienced lawyer from the Bailey Law Office can present you with options for visitation, child custody, holiday schedules and child support. It is also important to evaluate your preferences regarding decision making when it comes to your children. As co-parents, you and your soon-to-be ex will need to allocate which party is responsible for making decisions related to medical care and academic goals.
The Benefits of Having a Lawyer Involved During the Mediation Process
Many couples enter into a mediation workshop unprepared for what could be decided upon during the session. An experienced attorney can prepare you for the types of issues that are commonly discussed and the consequences of agreeing to certain stipulations. You need someone on your side to protect your interests and the interests of dependents involved.
Avoid going it alone when navigating Minnesota law during a divorce. Instead, rely on the expertise of the Bailey Law Office to guide you in the right direction and advocate for your rights. Contact us for more information and the peace of mind a lawyer can provide during this challenging time.