In divorce mediation, parents are usually able to make joint decisions relatively easily about the parenting plan. Many couples have already discussed a general plan for their children living in two separate households before starting mediation. At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we help them iron out all the specifics and develop a realistic plan. From there, we move on to finances. This is where it tends to get sticky.
Many couples cannot discuss money as easily as they can discuss their children's welfare. Of course parents love their children, but they can be more emotional about their money. Maybe because they think that they will still get to be with their children but not get to be with their money? If you see your kids next week instead of this one, you will still see them. But, if you "lose" your money you will never get it back. Divorce mediators understand how passionate people can feel about their money. We are there to help you understand how the divorce process works and how the courts see "your money". Sometimes, people are shocked and feel violated that the money s/he earned from his/her job and put in his/her 401k is not all his/hers. Actually, it is a marital asset and can be divided equally between the spouses. But it does not have to be.
During divorce mediation, we can help the couple develop a feasible division of their assets and debts that is fair and equitable. Fair and equitable does not necessarily have to mean 50% split down the middle. You have some flexibility about your various accounts. Obviously, it is not fair for one person to get all the assets and one person to get all the debts. But it can work out that one person keeps their entire 401k and takes less equity from the house. Each person in the couple needs to decide what will work for their future and then the mediator can help them divvy it up.