How Can Mediation Help Protect My Finances in a Divorce?

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If you are going through a divorce or about to begin the process, you are likely thinking about how the divorce proceedings will go. You may want to weigh your options before deciding to go to court and have a judge rule on the details of your relationship. Mediation is becoming a popular way to navigate divorces across the United States. If you are getting divorced and want to learn more about mediation or other options, contact a Bohemia, NY divorce attorney for assistance.

What is Mediation in a Divorce?

Mediation is a process where both spouses sit down with each other and a neutral third party to hammer out the details of their divorce including the division of assets, child custody, child support, and alimony. You and your spouse are the only people with a say in decision-making. Mediation is a great way to avoid lengthy court time, especially if you are on relatively good terms with your soon-to-be ex. Your marriage was likely a personal and intimate relationship, so leaving big decisions up to the ruling of a judge may not be how you want to go about it.

Will Mediation Help Me Protect My Finances?

In traditional litigation, the court has the power to make all decisions regarding marital property and assets. This could mean a court decides your spouse gets the majority of financial assets even if you believe you deserve more. With the use of mediation, you and your spouse reclaim the power.

The mediator does not have any legal authority to determine the final say on financial or property distribution. They are simply there to guide the conversation and keep the peace, ensuring that the couple comes to a mutually satisfactory decision. Your finances can be protected because you and your spouse are the only ones who get to decide where your money goes.

Mediation is also more cost-efficient than litigation. Divorce proceedings in court can take a year or even longer which is plenty of time for legal and court fees to accumulate.

What Do I Need During Mediation?

There are a multitude of decisions that you and your spouse will need to make during mediation, including how to divide your assets and debts, bank accounts, retirement accounts, spousal support, and child support.

In standard litigation, there is a discovery period where the court obtains information on each spouse’s finances, assets, and debts to ensure that all assets are accounted for. During mediation, however, there is no discovery and the division of property is largely dependent on the honor system. You are expected to be upfront and not hide assets from your partner.

To fairly divide assets you will be asked to provide some documents. They can include:

  • Pay stubs or income information
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Retirement account information
  • Mortgage documents
  • Car documents
  • Loan information

Being honest and upfront about all assets and liabilities is the best way to ensure a fair divorce settlement for both you and your spouse.

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