Keeping up with essential documents is one of those necessities in life. While some people are great at keeping a perfectly organized filing system, others may find themselves scrambling to find paperwork during their divorce proceedings. Since the mediation process goes more smoothly when you have everything in order from the beginning, it helps to start gathering these important documents before your first appointment. However, keep in mind that your mediator can give you extra time and may even be able to help you find documents you can’t seem to locate right away. The professionals from Divorce Options San Diego, the experts in divorce mediation San Diego couples rely on to help them form creative solutions without going through contentious and costly divorce proceedings, offer the following advice about what documents you’ll need.
Proof of Identity and Biographical Information
The first and easiest documents to find are those that prove who you are and provide basic information about you and your family. For instance, your mediator may want a copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate. You also need to provide information about your children, such as their full legal names and birth dates.
Current Bank Account Statements
One decision that must be made during mediation is how to split up your assets. For this reason, you’ll need to bring current copies of any bank statements you have for checking and savings accounts.
Statements for Children’s Accounts
These accounts are often overlooked during a divorce. However, one of you will need to be designated as the person in charge of handling financial accounts you’ve set up for your children, such as their college funds. Depending on the decisions you make, these can be split up between you and your spouse or set up as a new account managed by a neutral party.
Copies of Income Statements
Your income can be used to determine your ability to live on your own with or without spousal support. It can also play a role in other decisions you make, such as who will pay child support and how much will be ordered. If your income tends to fluctuate throughout the year, collect statements that show the overall average. These can also be combined with other documents to provide a fuller picture of your overall income potential.
Current and Past Tax Returns
You also need your past three tax returns. If you or your partner owns a business, you’ll need tax returns for the company as well. You may also need any additional documents that go along with your tax returns, such as W-2s.
During your divorce mediation, you’ll also need to furnish information about your current insurance policies. Be ready with documents for any health or life insurance policies you have. You may also need a statement of the cash surrender for life insurance plans.
Credit Card Statements & Other Debt Records
Your mediation agreement will also cover who is responsible for any debts accumulated during your marriage. Gather all documents that pertain to your debts. Statements from your auto loan company, mortgage lender, and other creditors help you understand exactly how much is owed.
Family Trust Statements
You’ll need the documents that pertain to any and all family trusts. These include living trusts, testamentary trusts, and both revocable and irrevocable trusts.
Investment Accounts Statements
Make sure to collect documents that contain information on any investment accounts. These include IRAs, annuities, workplace savings plans—401(k), 403(b), etc.—stock options, 529 plans, stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds, and money market funds.
Profit & Loss Statements
If you own a small business, you’ll need profit and loss (P&L) statements that summarize the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred. Some refer to the P&L statement as a statement of profit and loss, income statement, statement of operations, statement of financial results or income, earnings statement, or expense statement.
Having all your paperwork in order can speed up the mediation process. Another great way to make divorce easier is to work with experienced divorce mediators. San Diego couples benefit in numerous ways from the expertise of the professionals at Divorce Options San Diego. With backgrounds in law, finance, conflict resolution, and psychology, we help couples end their marriages amicably so they can look forward and move on with their lives. To learn more about our revolutionary divorce mediation process, give us a call today at (858) 281-2628.