I am starting a series of blog posts related to divorce mediation. Today’s focus is on property division in mediation.
First, let’s break down property. Property is not just a house or land, it is also all of your stuff. Cars, personal belongings, household furnishings, life insurance, retirement, bank accounts, debts, etc. All of these make up property and a valid Final Decree of Divorce the decree will divide all these property types. Failing to include all property could result in another suit to divide that property later.
Second, is whether property is community property or separate property. Property titled in your name does not make it separate property. Everything is considered community property unless you prove it is separate. Community property can be divided in divorce whereas separate property cannot. Therefore, it is crucial to determine what is separate and what is community. Separate property is only one of the following: (1) property from before marriage; (2) property by gift or inheritance; or (3) proceeds from a personal injury settlement not part to wages. If it does not fit into the three options then it is community property.
How is this used in mediation? The first step is for each party to independently complete an Inventory and Appraisement_fillable. The second step is to put that together. I typically arrange this into a spreadsheet. We then use that spreadsheet to help the parties decide what is most important to them. I use my knowledge of how a Judge decides cases to help the parties reach an agreement for property division in mediation.
Please check out my video on property division in mediation here.