No matter how committed you are to a low-impact divorce process, you must file for divorce with the court before you can take any official steps. Even if you are committed to a mediated divorce, you must first file for divorce officially. Otherwise your mediation is actually marriage counseling.
Be prepared, however; when you file for divorce – even if your intention is to deal with the actual terms of the divorce through a family law mediator in Pleasant Hill California – you will be required by law to make several automatic disclosures about your finances, known as the Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure. These disclosures are unavoidable no matter how you intend to proceed.
What Must be Disclosed
The good news is the family law mediator you are working with will assist you in both understanding the required disclosures and in filling out the required forms. The basics, however, are the same from family to family:
- Assets – all property owned individually or in part, as well as investments and other assets. The best practice here is to list everything no matter how small.
- Income – income generated from any source, including a job, freelance projects, and rentals.
- Expenses – the expenses that you deal with on a monthly basis. A good piece of advice is to make two such lists, one representing your expenses before the divorce and one representing your expected expenses after the divorce.
You cannot avoid disclosing these things, but a family law mediator can help you to understand why it is necessary, making the process easier to deal with, and can speed up and simplify the process as well, making it less stressful and faster, in keeping with the positive benefits of mediation in general.