Popular Topics Discussed During Divorce Mediation

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediationOnce you’ve decided that you are taking the divorce mediation route to work through the details of key issues during your divorce, you need to start preparing for the first sessions. It helps to know what the likely areas are that are typically discussed during divorce mediation to ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, and also to know what to expect from your spouse and his or her team.

Dividing up the property and other assets

The division of marital assets is often a key issue for most divorcing couples. If you own any property this will usually top the list of things to be discussed. Usually, unless there are children involved, the marital home ends up on the block with the proceeds from the sale being divided between both partners. In some cases, one partner may sign away their right to the home in exchange for some other benefits during the agreement – like sole rights to the family business, or joint investments. Other marital assets like vehicles and investments will also need to be divided, so work out what you think your fair share should be.

Working out a parenting plan and child custody

For parents, working out a joint parenting plan for during and after the divorce is important. Keep a list of your office holidays handy if you work, also note down important travel or meeting dates that repeat each year or at fixed intervals so that this can be chalked into the plan. Also keep in mind where you will be moving to after the divorce is final, and therefore how the children’s time on weekdays and weekends as well as school holidays will be handled between you and your spouse. You will also need to decide who will have primary custody, or if there is to be joint custody of the children. For those with pets, also remember to discuss who keeps the pets or how you share their time out.

Child support

Child support is a very critical area and will influence the quality of life your child has after divorce. Ideally, you should set things up so that they experience little to no change in their lifestyle. Be sure that child support covers the cost of their education at the same school, their extra curricular activities, as well as things like field trips, besides accounting for the basics of food, accommodation, and transport.

Discussing an appropriate alimony

If either you or your soon to be ex are likely to need alimony, then financial statements and income documents as well as proof of expenses may be needed to support your argument or back up a claim you make during the mediation. This will help keep things centered around fact rather than conjecture and will ease the way to a quicker resolution.

Business assets and their distribution

Family run businesses often have both spouses as partners or co-owners of the business. If the business is to be sold, or if ownership of one spouse is to be passed to the other spouse for some financial consideration, this will also need to be considered during mediation.

Retirement savings

Retirement savings and insurance plans are a specialized area that need both the mediator as well as the financial advisors or attorneys of both spouses to be experienced in family law so that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QRDO) can be prepared. Retirement funds and 401Ks function differently to other investments and will need special treatment but the broad plans can be worked out through mediation.

Debt: Who pays for what

Many modern marriages come with their share of debt. Whether it is on credit cards, or auto or home loans, you will need to work through each loan and who will take charge of repayments after the divorce.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation