The Ultimate Divorce Mediation Checklist in California

The Ultimate Divorce Mediation Checklist in California

Embarking on the divorce mediation journey in California requires careful preparation and documentation. While your initial divorce mediation session doesn’t necessitate extensive preparation, having essential documents on hand can significantly streamline the process. Each divorce is unique, but there are key documents that are beneficial in nearly every situation. This article provides a comprehensive divorce mediation checklist to help you prepare effectively for your divorce mediation sessions.

General Document Checklist

Income Information:

  • Pay stubs last two months
  • Bank account balance statements
  • Tax returns for the past three years

Asset and Debt Inventory:

  • A comprehensive list of all assets and debts
  • Property documents including loan information (real estate, vehicles)
  • Savings accounts, investments, and other financial holdings

Parenting Plan (if applicable):

Proposed parenting plan detailing custody and visitation arrangements for minor children

Real Property:

  • The current value of your home
  • A detailed breakdown of high-value furniture, furnishings, appliances, jewelry, watches, and collectibles
  • Information on property-related expenses (mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, insurance)

Financial Accounts:

  • Details of checking and savings accounts
  • Information on credit unions and brokerage accounts

Retirement Accounts:

Most recent statements for IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), pensions, profit-sharing plans, or any deferred compensation plans

Life Insurance Policies:

  • Information on term policies
  • The most recent policy declaration page


  • List of businesses, including name and type
  • The most recent tax return filed for each business


  • Stocks, bonds, and any secured notes
  • Recent statements detailing the value of each investment

Personal Tax Returns:

Tax returns filed over the past three years

Debts and Liabilities:

List of major personal and business debts and liabilities relevant to your situation

Income Summary:

Year-to-date pay stubs for each spouse with a brief explanation of their income structure

Value of Your Business:

Information regarding the value of any businesses owned by either spouse

Dispute Resolution Plan:

How you plan to resolve disputes in the future

Children Details:

  • Number of children
  • Plans for parenting visits and schedules in the future

Please note that this is a starting point, and your specific case may require additional documentation based on your unique circumstances.

Property Assets and Liabilities Checklist

Property division is a significant aspect of divorce mediation. When discussing how assets and liabilities will be divided in California, consider the following:

Bank Account Statements:

Current bank account balance statements

Children’s Account Balance Statements:

Statements for any accounts belonging to your children

Investment Statements:

Stock and bond investment statements

Vehicle Information:

  • Make, model, and year of all vehicles owned
  • Private party value for each vehicle

Legal Matters:

List of any pending lawsuits in which either or both spouses are named plaintiffs

Outstanding Loans or Promises:

Statements of any outstanding loans or verbal promises to repay loans

Retirement Accounts:

Current statements for retirement accounts

Employment Benefits:

Detailed statements of all other employment benefits

Real Estate Appraisals:

Appraisals of all owned real estate at current market value

Home Contents and Personal Property:

Approximate value of each home’s contents and personal property

Business Valuations:

Business valuations for all owned businesses

This list is not exhaustive and serves as a guide to help you gather relevant documents for property asset and liability discussions.

Child Support Checklist

When addressing child support and custody, your divorce mediator will facilitate conversations regarding:

Legal Custody:

  • Decision-making authority for education, religion, and major health-related issues
  • Typically, both parents share legal custody

Physical Custody:

Parenting plans for day-to-day schedules, extracurricular activities, holidays, birthdays, summer and school breaks, and more

Child Support and Expenses Checklist

California has specific child support guidelines that parents must follow. During mediation, expect discussions about:

Payment Amounts:

Expectations regarding the amount of money one parent will pay

Health Insurance:

Health insurance coverage for the children

Day care, preschool and after school care:

Reaching agreement for how child care will be accomplished, and sharing of the cost

Uninsured Medical Expenses:

Handling medical expenses not covered by insurance

Tax Deductions:

Determining who is eligible for tax deductions

Life Insurance Policies:

Policies related to child support or other financial arrangements

Education Expenses:

Who will cover children’s schooling expenses

Additional Expenses:

Contributions to extra activities like birthday parties, class trips, etc.

Spousal Support Checklist

Your family law mediator will also facilitate conversations around spousal support, including:

Payment Amount:

Determining how much spousal support will be paid

Payment Schedules and Timelines:

Agreeing on the schedule and timeline for spousal support payments

Insurance Implications:

Addressing health insurance and life insurance considerations related to spousal support

Divorce can be emotionally challenging, but with adequate preparation and effective mediation, an amicable resolution with your spouse is possible. While mediation offers an alternative to litigated divorce, thorough preparation is essential to achieve a mutually desired outcome. With proper planning and the guidance of a skilled mediator, you can emerge stronger as you and your spouse make decisions that are in the best interests of your family.

Why Contact Ewing Mediation & Family Law

Ewing Mediation and Family Law specializes in providing a compassionate and effective alternative to traditional divorce litigation. With over 30 years of experience, their expertise, successful outcomes, and compassionate approach set them apart.

Choosing Ewing Mediation means choosing:

  • Expertise: Over 30 years of skill and knowledge in mediation and family law.
  • Successful Outcomes: Consistent track record of helping spouses resolve issues effectively and amicably.
  • Compassion: Understanding the emotional toll of divorce and providing support every step of the way. 

If you’re facing divorce, child custody, or other family-related issues in Torrance and the South Bay , California, Ewing Mediation and Family Law can guide you toward a resolution that meets your legal needs while preserving your well-being and that of your loved ones. Contact them to navigate the challenges of divorce litigation and find a path forward that serves your interests well.