I’M SCHEDULED FOR MEDIATION – NOW WHAT?
Clients often ask what they should bring to their mediation. The answer: It depends.
Since each person’s situation is unique, there is no “one size fits all” list of what to bring to mediation. In my opinion, it is better to bring along more documentation than you think you need, but you shouldn’t stress about forgetting something. Supporting documentation may be gathered and/or exchanged before your next mediation session if you are unable to reach an agreement without some of the paperwork. Here are a few things to think about when you are preparing for
-If you already have any type of Court Order, make sure you have a copy of the Order with you. This is probably the most important paperwork to have available.
-If you want to discuss division of debt, it is helpful to bring along a current copy of the statement for each debt.
-Likewise, if you want to discuss division of assets, it is helpful to bring along documentation showing the current value of each asset.
-For topics such as spousal maintenance or child support, I encourage parties to bring with them a few months worth of pay stubs as well as a list of monthly expenses.
Deciding what to bring when parenting time is in dispute is less clear cut. Items to think about include children’s schedules (school, sports, other activities) and information showing what is currently being exercised for parenting time. Some mediators will ask the parties to submit all of their documents prior to the initial mediation session. I prefer to receive information during the session for a few different reasons. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I want both parties to know what I am seeing. Second, not all parties organize information the same way. I don’t want to take the chance of forming an opinion about a party before mediation and losing my neutrality. Finally, some of the paperwork parties bring with them may not make sense without an explanation. I would rather be efficient in hearing any necessary explanation than spin my wheels trying to figure out what something means without a party present to answer my questions.
If you or someone you know is involved in any type of family dispute, please consider mediation through Metro Law and Mediation – helping families through life’s challenges!