Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C.
Schaumburg Family Law Attorney

Divorce Mediation Checklist

December 20, 2022
Posted By: Robert M. Kaplan
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Mediation allows divorcing couples to reach a marital settlement agreement while saving time, money, and stress. With mediation, a neutral trained professional meets with both parties to help work out their solutions. 

Mediation Before Filing for Divorce

You and your spouse must agree about critical issues in the divorce:

  • Division of marital property and debts
  • Alimony
  • Child custody and support, if you have a minor or dependent child 

A mediator can help resolve issues and prevent conflicts that often occur during contested divorce proceedings. 

Mediation During Divorce

Mediation is an option during the divorce, and the judge might even order you to mediate specific concerns. Even without a court order, some parties may be more willing to negotiate once their situation’s details are clear. 

Mediation After Divorce

Sometimes, ex-spouses have disputes after their divorce, especially when co-parenting. In this case, you can use a mediator to help with time-sharing agreements or child support. 

How Do I Start a Divorce Mediation? 

Mediation has five main steps:

1. Introductory Remarks or Orientation 

The mediator begins by performing an intake of the participants and explaining what’s expected during the mediation process. This is also the time to discuss the terms of payment.

2. Information-Gathering 

Successful mediation means you, your spouse, and the mediator clearly understand all the facts. The mediator will ask what you and your spouse will agree on and what still requires solutions. Most divorcing couples will need to address topics like division of marital property, alimony, child support, and child custody.

3. Identification of Each Spouse’s Interests 

During this stage, each spouse outlines their needs and interests, including discussing desired outcomes, goals, priorities, and values. Outlining these needs and interests help frame the primary purpose of meditation, which is a successful and equitable settlement. 

4. Exploring Settlement Options 

This stage is for exploring settlement options and negotiating. With the mediator’s guidance, the parties brainstorm and evaluate their options. 

5. Reaching an Agreement or Negotiating a Settlement

When the spouses reach an agreement, mediators will work with the parties to draft a marital settlement agreement. Both spouses will then thoroughly review the agreement before signing it. Once spouses reach an agreement, the parties must file the settlement agreement with the court and request the judge incorporate it into the final divorce decree. Some mediators will file the agreement and other paperwork for you, but it may be an additional fee. 

What Should I Do Before Divorce Mediation? 

Before divorce mediation, make sure you prepare and have an idea of what to expect. 

  • Identify your fundamental interests. 
  • Be ready to make the first offer.
  • Obtain an estimated cost of litigation.
  • Think about how you’ll present your position.
  • Be ready to speak with your spouse face-to-face.
  • Treat your mediator like a colleague.

What Should I Bring to the First Mediation?

Here are some things you should bring to the first mediation:

  • Contact information – contact information of key people in your life, such as bankers, brokers, and childcare 
  • Your calendar or schedule – a record of your future commitments when discussing child custody, follow-up mediation sessions, and other matters 
  • Court documents – detailed file of all documents filed with or required by the court 
  • List of assets, property, and debts – vehicles, bank accounts, property, value personal items, and loans
  • Financial statements – bank statements, credit card accounts, loan documents, etc. 
  • List of key topics – anything you want to discuss, like sharing holidays with your kids 
  • Payment – fees for the mediator 

Mediation can be draining, so you must have the right mindset: patience, an open mind, and knowing what’s not negotiable. 

Here’s what you should be ready to discuss during mediation:

  • Property and debt divisions
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and support
  • Retirement accounts 
  • Insurance coverage
  • Future communication

Contact Your Divorce Mediation Lawyer in Schaumburg

Are you considering divorce mediation? Please get in touch with our law office in Schaumburg to schedule a consultation with our team.

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