How to Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation Session: A Checklist

How to Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation Session: A Checklist

Couple during divorce mediation

Divorce is a significant life event that can be emotionally taxing and complex, especially when it comes to navigating the legal landscape. However, divorce mediation offers a path to a more amicable resolution, allowing both parties to discuss and negotiate the terms of their divorce with the help of a neutral third party. If you’re in California and considering mediation for your divorce, preparation is key to ensuring a productive and successful session. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare for your divorce mediation session.

The Checklist

Divorce doesn’t always have to be a battle fought in court. Mediation presents an alternative that can save time, money, and emotional energy. It’s a process where you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse sit down with a neutral mediator to work out the details of your divorce, from asset division to child custody. But like any important meeting, success in mediation hinges on preparation. Here’s how to gear up for your session, ensuring you walk in ready to engage in constructive discussions.

  1. Mentally Prepare Yourself

First and foremost, approach mediation with the right mindset. Understand that mediation is about finding a middle ground, not winning a battle. Prepare to negotiate and be open to compromise. Remember, the goal is to reach an agreement that benefits both parties and, if applicable, your children.

  1. Select the Right Support

Guideway’s Mediation team consists of skilled, neutral facilitators who assist divorcing couples in resolving the challenges that have impeded their separation, guiding them toward a mutually agreeable solution. With no judges involved, there are no winners or losers. Our Guided Divorce process emphasizes negotiation, open-mindedness, and compromise, aiming for a balanced resolution for all parties involved. We help you through the process without the high cost of an attorney.

  1. Gather Financial Documents

Compile all relevant financial information, including bank statements, tax returns, property valuations, and debt information. This comprehensive financial snapshot is crucial for discussing asset division and spousal support.

  1. List Your Assets and Debts

Create a detailed list of all marital assets and debts. Include everything from the family home to retirement accounts, ensuring nothing is overlooked. This list will be a focal point in your mediation discussions.

  1. Understand Your Post-Divorce Budget

Having a clear picture of your financial needs after divorce is essential. Draft a budget that accounts for your living expenses, including housing, utilities, and childcare. This will help in negotiations related to spousal and child support.

  1. Prepare a Parenting Plan

If you have children, draft a proposed parenting plan. Consider custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and how you’ll handle holidays and vacations. The more detailed your plan, the smoother the discussion will go.

  1. Identify Your Non-Negotiables

Know what you’re willing to compromise on and what’s non-negotiable. Clear priorities will help you stay focused during mediation and make the process more efficient.

  1. Practice Open Communication

Effective communication is key in mediation. Practice speaking clearly and listening actively. Remember, the goal is to understand and be understood.

  1. Stay Informed About California Divorce Laws

Familiarize yourself with California’s divorce laws, especially those related to property division and child custody. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions during mediation.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations

Finally, understand that mediation is about reaching a fair compromise. Be realistic about what you can achieve and be prepared to make concessions.


Preparing for your divorce mediation session can seem daunting, but the right approach can lead to a fair and amicable resolution. Use this checklist to ensure you’re ready to engage in productive discussions. And remember, the team at Guideway is here to support you through every step of your divorce process in California. Visit us at for more information on how we can help you confidently navigate your divorce. Navigating a divorce is never easy, but with preparation and the right support, mediation can offer a path to a new beginning. Prepare thoroughly, approach the process with an open mind, and focus on building a positive future.

We are not attorneys. We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Guideway Legal Document & Mediation Services is not a law firm, and we cannot represent customers, select legal forms, or give legal or tax advice. Services are provided at customers’ requests and are not a substitute for advice of a lawyer. Because legal needs vary from individual to individual, you should seek the advice of trained professionals if you have any questions regarding the selection of appropriate forms. Prices do not include court costs.