According to the Huffington Post, financial issues and conflicts about money is one of the top 10 reasons why couples get divorced in the United States. If you're going through a messy divorce and cannot come to an agreement with your spouse about finances, debt, child support or alimony, these issues can make an already difficult divorce even more complicated. Instead of fighting and dragging out your divorce, consider mediation instead. Here are a few reasons why marital asset mediation is a good idea, and how to prepare for your first meeting:

Why Should I Choose Marital Asset Mediation?

If you cannot come to an agreement about your marital assets and debts, it's time to consider mediation. Unlike the past meetings with your lawyer, your spouse and their lawyer, mediation allows you to discuss your issues with an impartial third party.

You may not know if mediation is right for your situation, so here are a few reasons you and your spouse should consider it:

  • Mediation Can Save You A lot of Time and Money – Going through a traditional divorce can mean spending a lot of time speaking with your lawyer and before a judge. Both of these can get very expensive and time consuming. Mediation, on the other hand, is often much less expensive and because you are working directly on your problems in a peaceful environment, it can also take less time.
  • Peace and Calm – Many times, the stress of a court room and an austere lawyer's office can put people on edge. This can lead to unnecessary fights that can make your divorce even more contentious. Your mediation sessions will be held in a calm, relaxing environment with a third party that isn't on anyone's side. This atmosphere can help both you and your spouse relax, which can help move the process along.
  • Confidentiality – As your divorce proceeds and you continue to fight over your assets and debts, you will eventually wind up going in front of your judge to make a final decision. Unfortunately, everything that is said in front of a judge will be a matter of public record. This means all of your dirty laundry will be out there for anyone to read, including your family members. Mediation is private, and everything you say in that room will remain confidential.
  • Flexibility – Finally, flexibility is one of the biggest advantages of mediation. When you appear before a judge, your financial future is placed in their hands. However, when you work with a mediator, you will be offered more options to work through your money woes.

How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with the Mediator

Now that you and your spouse have settled on mediation, it's time to prepare for your first meeting. It is important to make a list of everything you wish to discuss during mediation. For example, you may have marital and separate debt you want to discuss. In many states, if one spouse is found more at-fault for the divorce, this can lead to something called an unequal division of debt, so you may want to discuss this, as well.

Additionally, it is important to gather all necessary financial documents, including:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement account information
  • Bank account documentation
  • Mutual fund and brokerage account documents
  • Student and personal loan information
  • Documents about any joint or personal loans, such as your home loan, car loan and student loans
  • Tax records
  • Profit and loss statements

This is a short list of the documentation you should bring to mediation. For a more comprehensive list, contact your attorney, someone like Dramko  Diane Attorney At Law.

Going through a divorce is complicated, under the best circumstances. If you are having trouble coming to an agreement about your marital assets and debts, mediation could be the answer.