How Mediation Can Be Helpful Regarding Division of Property

The division of property in a divorce is not just physical property such as a cabin or home. Property can also be a 401K, stocks, family heirloom, a piece of art, jewelry, etc.

It is not uncommon for parties to come to mediation with the assumption that dividing property will be easy. However, more often than not, parties find themselves disagreeing and becoming stuck on certain items.

To aid in the division of property– it is helpful for both parties to come prepared with information regarding the property and how they would like to see the division occur. This provides a more productive discussion during mediation and helps the mediator guide the discussion.

To be successful during mediation, start by identifying and discussing the easier matters first; make sure each party feels as if they have some give and take, and listen to the other party about what is important to them.

While mediators cannot determine the division, they can help guide parties in the conversation regarding the division of property, such as:

  1. Creating lists of separate and joint property;
  2. Creating lists of separate and joint debts;
  3. Identifying complex assets or items the parties need to gather more information about; and
  4. Help involve experts for more complex evaluations, i.e. business evaluations or vocational evaluations.

Mediation also keeps parties in control of their property. If parties choose to go to trial over mediation, the determination of your property division is in the hands of a Judge. The Judge ultimately ends up making the decision, which may not meet the needs of the parties. Therefore the short and long term benefits to mediating a property division include:

  1. Less cost than traditional litigation or trial;
  2. Less stress and time spent when mediating versus litigation or trial;
  3. More say and control in the result;
  4. Less acrimony going forward, knowing that you have been heard and you received at least some of the things that are important to you.

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