Making The Most of Your Resources
The next major issue that most couples usually choose to address is the family financial situation. Prior to this session, each of you will have filled out a Financial Affidavit form that is required by the State. Using these forms, we will determine how your combined incomes and expenses can best be shared. We will discuss possible ways to increase income and/or decrease expenses in an effort to make sure that the basic needs of the entire family--you, your spouse, and your children--are adequately covered. We will also consider the issues of both child support and spousal support (alimony) in reaching a workable family financial plan. During this session, we usually address the issue of the family home, since this usually represents both the biggest asset, and the biggest expense, your family has.
Sharing The Assets and The Liabilities
Now that both of you have reached a workable agreement regarding the parenting plan and the family finances--including child support and spousal support--we discuss the remaining financial issues. Using the information on your Financial Affidavits, we will discuss how you will share the assets and the liabilities. This process will include a consideration of various options, as well as the financial and tax implications of each option, and how these options fit with the parenting and financial agreements reached in previous divorce mediation sessions.
At this session, most couples are also able to complete their Agreement by addressing such issues as health and life insurance coverage, allocation of tax exemptions, college tuitions, and any other matters that you or your spouse feel need to be addressed.
Finalizing Your Agreement
Before this last session, I will send each of you a draft copy of the complete Marital Settlement Agreement for your review, comments, and proposed changes. Normally, we will communicate with each other through e-mails to resolve any outstanding details until we have developed a complete and final Agreement.
At this last session, we will sign the Marital Settlement Agreement as well as the other documents you will need for your final divorce hearing. I will walk you through the procedures so that both of you will be able to represent yourselves in Court at your uncontested divorce hearing. You will not need me or an attorney to accompany you, because this is your Agreement, and both of you will be fully ready and able to handle the hearing. In all the years that I have been mediating divorces, not one couple has ever needed my help at this final hearing. Divorce mediation is empowering!