Mediation Checklist for Divorce
By Melissa Salfi, Family & Fertility Lawyer, Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Lawyer
In real estate, it’s ‘location, location, location’.
In divorce mediation, it’s ‘preparation, preparation, preparation’.
Whether the first opportunity to negotiate an arrangement, or a last chance to settle the dispute before going to court, laying the groundwork for a mediation session is vital. Arriving ready for the process will maximize the chances of settling the case and avoiding costly litigation.
So, what is the ideal preparation for divorce mediation?
The Divorce Mediation Checklist
Mediations may be protracted because of a party’s failure to provide the necessary documents in the initial session. Bring all documents relevant to the case, from financial disclosure to reports completed. Use this divorce mediation checklist as a helpful guide:
1. Income documents:
- Income tax returns
- Notices of assessment
- Corporate tax returns (if applicable)
- Financial Statements (if applicable)
- Pay stubs or other proof of income
2. Any reports completed:
- Business Valuation
- Section 211 Report
- Pension Valuation
- Appraisal for Home and Investment Properties
3. Bank accounts and balances including account numbers and balances for credit cards and revolving credit
- Other accounts
4. Retirement accounts
5. Investments, including stock options
6. Life Insurance
7. Accounts receivable & unsecured notes
8. Mortgage owing and vehicle loans
9. Any other loans, debts, or sources of income
10. Any offers exchanged between the parties
11. If your matter is in Court, bring your pleadings
Have a system for the documents, perhaps in a binder with tabs. Documents can also be organized electronically, though there must be capacity to share them with the other party and the mediator.
What to bring to your mediation?
During the divorce mediation, there may be need to access emails, bank accounts, or other information not on hand. A party may wish to make phone calls to obtain information or get an opinion from an expert or a consulting lawyer if you’re representing yourself. Prior to a decision, it may be prudent to speak with a support person or a loved one impacted by the decision. Attending the mediation session with a phone and laptop will ensure access to the information required and connection to the key people in your corner. While the mediator will likely supply refreshments and some basic stationery, bringing a water bottle, snacks, pens, and notepad is recommended. And don’t forget the charger for your electronics.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Beyond materials and supplies, mental and physical preparation for a long, emotional day is essential. Take time to think about the issues, and consider which ones are the priorities. Write down a few objectives, what matters to you, how you wish your future to look moving forward. Reflect on the concerns and fears. Note any specific questions and any additional information needed to make a decision, particularly if it must be accessed from the other party. The night before the mediation, finding the right head space is a must. Pack, engage in a relaxing activity and get a good night’s sleep. The morning of the mediation, eat well and ensure there is ample time for an early arrival. Afterwards, if a debrief with a counsellor or therapist is needed, schedule an appointment beforehand.
The divorce mediators at Crossroads Law are experienced lawyers and fully accredited Family Law Mediators with the Law Society of Alberta and Law Society of BC. Parties may meet in-person or over the phone prior to the process; once initiated, the mediation setting at Crossroads Law is comfortable, private, and informal. If a way forward is achieved, we can document and draft the separation agreement, subject to Independent Legal Advice. Call to book a free 20-minute consult to find out if mediation is right for you.