COPE CopeLine Supervisor

July 2018

Your Wellness & Work-Life Newsletter

Preparing for Mediation and Divorce

Mediation is a process that can help end a marriage with less stress and expense. It's not for everyone, however. It works best for couples that are committed to limiting the anger and hurt of divorce and are willing to prepare a financial plan.

In order to create a financial plan for your future, you must understand the financial arrangements of the past. That is why the most important element of a successful mediation is information. Both husband and wife must have equal access to all of the family's financial data. Where did the money come from, and where did it go?

Two Financial Categories

1. Division of assets and debts - In order to divide assets and debts fairly, you must know what they are. Start by preparing a thorough list of everything you own (houses, cars, bank accounts, stocks & bonds, pension plans, etc.) and everything you owe (loans, mortgages, credit card debts, etc.).

2. Spousal support and child support - In mediation you will divide everything into shares for each spouse, and then with the help of a professional, analyze the impact of your proposed settlement. A Certified Divorce Planner can be very helpful at this point. CDPs can analyze the financial impact of your planned distribution, and show you what the financial health of both spouses is likely to be for the next 10-20 years.

Create a Budget for Your Future Life
Spousal support and child support decisions are generally made on the basis of the needs of the recipients and the ability of the spouses to pay. This is where preparation of your budget is critical. You must know what you will each need to support separate households in the future. List your current costs for a house mortgage or apartment rent, utilities, food, clothing, child care, medical care, insurance, transportation, etc., and start researching how those costs will change in the future. Ask Yourself:

• Will there be enough money to pay for a mortgage and rent on an apartment?
• Or will the house have to be sold?
• Children get more expensive as they grow, so think about increases in food and clothing costs for them?

Control the Cost of Mediation
If you do as much work as you can before you start mediating, your costs to mediate will be kept to a minimum and you will have more to put towards your future life. Even if you don't mediate, or don't do it successfully, the time you spend to prepare will help you and your attorney if you must go to court.

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