The ABC’s of Mediation – Part II: Financial Issues

This second article from attorney and mediator Rosalyn A. Metzger on Mediation focuses on how the process addresses financial issues involved in divorce. To read the first article, see “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part I: The Process.”

Negotiating Financial Issues

Mediation Financial Issues - photo of notebooks labeled "assets", eyeglasses, pens, and laptop on a tablePart of divorce mediation involves financial issues. Although you won’t need any documents for the first session, you will need to begin assembling financial statements, preferably from the same end date so that the values come from the same time frame. This way, when you reach the financial issues that are part of every divorce, you are prepared. It often can take a while to obtain all of the financial information necessary.

Although mediation does not require any other parties to the process, it is often helpful if a financial advisor can provide assistance to the parties. If you work out an agreement, what are the tax ramifications? Are there any? It is of tremendous value to obtain financial guidance from an expert so that there are no surprises after you reach final agreement.

This sounds like you have a lot of people involved. How can that save you money? It is because each expert does what she or he does best. You, the mediator, and the other party will do the bulk of the work so that each of you is not paying an attorney or a tax advisor to address the same issues. It is important to recognize that mediation will save you money in the long run.

How long will the mediation process take? That depends on how well you and your other half can address the issues, and how well prepared you are when you attend mediation. If there is need to extend mediation so that one party has health insurance coverage for a longer period of time until they return to work for example, that can easily be accomplished. The timing of the divorce is entirely up to you.

If on the other hand, you have all of your ducks in a row and there is no dispute as to custody, parenting time, or financial issues, your mediation can be accomplished very quickly. I have worked with clients who were finished with all issues in six weeks, and others who chose to wait a year and a half. It’s entirely up to you.

Next week: “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part III: The Children”