Divorce mediation is the most cost effective and efficient way to handle your divorce. That being said, many couples who are considering divorce do not know much about the divorce mediation process. Often, couples come in for their free consultation asking questions like “how long does the divorce mediation process take” or “what is expected of us”? This post will give you a sense of what you can do before starting the divorce mediation process and how to maximize the efficiency.
1. Start getting organized
The first step of any divorce mediation is getting your financial disclosures together. The law (Family Code Section 2100) requires a “full disclosure”, which means that you and your spouse will need to disclose your income, expenses, assets and debts. When you come in for your free consultation, an Alternative Divorce Solutions mediator will walk you through how to prepare your financial disclosure forms. We use the court’s forms, which are the FL-150 (Income and Expense Declaration) and the FL-142 (Schedule of Assets and Debts). These are comprehensive forms that will ask you and your spouse to provide information about your finances, which will include tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and more. As you are preparing for your divorce mediation, start to get your bank statements and other financial documents ready. If you don’t know what statements to pull, at least start making sure you know your log in information for your bank accounts and other financial information.
2. Think about your needs
Once you are divorced, you and your spouse will be living apart. If you have minor children, they may have to travel back and forth between your home and your spouse’s home so they can spend time with both of you. You will have your own household expenses and responsibilities to deal with and it may be an adjustment for you financially and emotionally. Before you start the divorce mediation process, think through what your needs may be post-divorce. What will it cost you to provide a home for yourself and your children? What will groceries cost? Will you need help with child care? The more you know about what you need, the more your divorce mediator can assist you.
3. Communicate with your spouse
Divorce mediation is a very transparent process. This means that we try to facilitate open and honest communication about what each spouse feels is fair and what they need. If you “spring” the divorce conversation on your spouse without warning, it doesn’t set the tone for a positive divorce mediation. Before you start researching and contacting divorce mediators/divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County, sit down with your spouse and communicate your thoughts about the divorce. You may want to talk to them about the divorce in general, or even about how you both think certain property and finances should be divided. The more you communicate, the more likely you are to be successful at divorce mediation.
At Alternative Divorce Solutions, we have a team of attorney-mediators and staff that will walk you through the divorce mediation process from start to finish. We help our clients understand the process and prepare in advance. Divorce mediation is easier to handle when you know exactly what to expect.