You have filed your Florida Family Law Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and have served it on your spouse. Both of you have complied with Florida Family Court Rules of Procedure 12.285 which is titled Mandatory Disclosure. Now you are getting ready to attend a mediation with one of our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc.: So, what should you bring with you to mediation?
Since Florida divorce cases usually involve issues such as child custody and support, division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and attorney fees; it is important to bring documentation which help to back up your position as to how the issues in your case should be resolved. One nice aspect about mediation is that documents don’t require a record custodian or other type of witness solely for the purpose of making the document admissible as evidence. On the other hand, introducing documents at trial may require witnesses who may or may not be cooperative.
Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators also find it very beneficial when parties appear at mediation with a list which sets out how each of them wants their case resolved.
When there are minor children common to the parties, there are a number of factors which should be addressed in order to create a parenting plan. It is important to determine the lifestyle that the children have been accustomed to during the course of the marriage as well as extracurricular activities that they are involved in.
So, you should bring documents which show the length of time that a child has been involved in extracurricular activities, the days of attendance with sign-in/sign-out sheets, and the costs of the activities. The same types of documents should be brought to mediation for daycare, before care and after because these costs are needed to determine child support. You should also bring school records which shows each child’s grades along with progress reports. The types of documents listed above are all very relevant to Parenting Plan issues and they can be easily located by the children’s parents. Documentation can also remove the he said/she said that can be common in Florida Family Law cases where children are involved.
In addition, bring all documents that are related to income, retirement accounts, inheritances, investments, and valuation of assets. Further, you should bring proof of your monthly expenses because these expenses can be relevant to support issues.
The more financial documentation that you bring to mediation makes it much more likely that you receive an equal distribution of marital assets and liabilities. For example, if a spouse states “my car is worth $10,000 and I owe $2,000”; a loan statement will conclusively show exactly how much is owed and there are a number of online resources available where you can receive a value of a car. The same is true with valuing real property, boats, motor homes and even a number of different types of collectibles.
The bottom line is that when show up at mediation with the answers that matter regarding the issues that you need to resolve, you are more likely to walk out of mediation with a settlement agreement.