Sensible Separation


My First Appointment

Although not required, there are a few things you should consider doing to make your first appointment the most productive. Please read an article I wrote, titled, "What to Bring to My First Mediation Appointment " and then review the additional considerations, below:

1.  Please download and fill out the New Client Information Sheet and the Agreement to Mediate sheet at the bottom of this page, and bring the completed forms with you to your first appointment. Completing these forms in advance will save you time and money.

2. Try to agree on a common approach to divorce procedure: Traditional, Collaborative or Mediation. See, FAQ for help.

3. Discuss interim financial arrangements before you commence mediation, and agree that no unusual expenses will be incurred without an agreement. 

4. Unless you are in agreement on your respective incomes, assemble all W-2s, K-1s, tax returns and other information so that incomes can be verified for at least the last two years.

5. Bring in or email a family photo. l may be working with 20 or more families at a time and it is very helpful to be able to put the faces with the names. Also, some of the judges may request a picture for their file, particularly if children are involved.

6. Assemble one copy of all known bills and loan statements so we can verify your outstanding obligations. Likewise, assemble account statements, appraisals or other indications of assets owned, so your assets can be defined and valued. Locate a benefits summary from your employers, including pension, insurance, profit sharing, and other retirement related accounts. If your finances are complex, consider agreeing on an accountant or financial planner to help you to prepare a preliminary family balance sheet. You might try to present your financial information on an Excel spreadsheet. No particular form is required, but one I like to use may be downloaded by clicking the button below.

7. Review and, if possible, complete a preliminary discussion draft of a Domestic Relations Affidavit (DRA).  Choose either the PDF or Excel version of the DRA, by choosing the appropriate option at the bottom of the page. 

8. Schedule at least one meeting with a family therapist to discuss your divorce and attempt to develop common ground rules.

9. You may wish to review the rules applicable to mediation and mediators that have been implemented by the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration, Rules 901 through 904.

10. If your case is very simple and you want to try to cut your costs, you might want to prepare some of the documentation yourself. You can find some excellent forms approved by the Kansas Supreme Court at this location:

"With a little preparation, mediation may make  your divorce far simpler than you expected."