Although not required, there are few things you should consider to make your first appoinment with our office the most productive. Please read an article I wrote, titled, "What to Bring to My First Mediation Appointment " and then reveiw the additional considerations, below:
1. Review, compete and bring with you to the first meeting, any fee agreements, engagement letters, mediation agreements or other documents your mediator or lawyer may require. In many states, including Kansas, attorneys acting as mediators are required to disclose in writing that they are not acting as either party's attorney and the mediation process is generally confidential. If mediating with this office, please review the Agreement to Mediate. If possible, please download, sign and bring the agreement with you to your first appointment. Please also download, complete and bring with you with the New Client Information Sheet.
2. Try to agree on a common approach to divorce procedure: Traditional, Collaborative or Mediation. See, FAQ for help.
3. Discuss interim financial arrangements and agree that no unusual expense will be incurred without an agreement.
4. Assemble all W-2’s, K-1’s, tax returns and other information so that incomes can be verified for at least the last two years.
5. Bring in a family photo for the mediator or the attorney’s file. Your divorce professional 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 the mediator/ attorney 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 linformation on a spreadsheet Excel Template.
8. Schedule at least one meetings with a family therapist to discuss your divorce and attempt to develop common ground rules. To assist you in this process, examine the Divorce Work Books.
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 simply and you want to try to cut your costs, you might want to prepare some of the documentation your self. You can find some excellent forms approved by the Kansas Supreme Court at this location: http://www.kansasjudicialcouncil.org/DivorceForms.shtml.
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