Your Divorce Checklist

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Your Divorce ChecklistDivorce is complicated. The following is a comprehensive list of issues that need to be discussed so that the final divorce papers are thorough and complete. Not all items on the list will be relevant to you. This list is the same whether you use mediation or work with attorneys.

Keep in mind other issues might arise that are not listed here. Every couple’s situation is unique, so if you don’t see a topic here that you want to discuss, make a note to talk about it during your consultation.

Going through your divorce with the guidance of an experienced divorce mediator allows you to settle all of your issues quickly, peacefully, and privately.

If you would like a printed version of this list, use your browser’s print option.

Planning to Divorce

  • Schedule a free consultation to learn about the process as it pertains to your circumstances.
  • Educate yourself about divorce. For example, explore my website, and sign up to receive my blog posts.
  • Start to think about your living options (location; rent/buy; apartment/house, etc.)
  • Consider renting a post office box for personal mail
  • Start a divorce file for important paperwork: Make copies for your spouse and divorce professionals as needed
  • If you and your spouse share an email account, obtain your own separate account. Google Gmail is a great option. Notify friends and family of the change
  • Change the passwords to your own social media accounts

Parenting and Schedule

Legal Custody of Children

  • Joint, shared, or sole custody
  • Designation and implication of primary residential parent
  • Decision-making: Which are joint decisions and which are made by each parent individually
  • Children’s birth certificates, passports, and other legal documents
  • Permission to travel with the children
  • Access to the children when not parenting
  • Expectations regarding religious education and customs
  • Death of either parent
  • Relocation of a parent
  • Substance abuse or addictions
  • Surnames and parent designation of Mom and Dad
  • Pet custody and expenses

Child Support

  • Calculating child support in divorce
  • Child support enforcement unit
  • New York State Child Support Guidelines
  • Proration: Percentage of income of each parent compared to total family income
  • When child support begins
  • How child support will be paid
  • Documentation of income
  • Self-employed parent versus a W-2 employee parent
  • Child care, health insurance, and uninsured medical expenses
  • Other expenses for kids such as extra-curricular expenses and milestone events
  • Pre-college private school costs: Tuition, room/board, books, other expenses
  • College-related costs: Tuition, room/board, books, other expenses
  • Frequency and circumstances for review/modification of child support

The House

  • Calculating equity
  • How to share the equity
  • Removing names from or keeping names on mortgages and titles
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Whether to sell the house
  • Funding the house if refinanced
  • Funding the house while you’re selling it
  • Sole occupancy of house
  • When to live separately
  • If someone dies while house is jointly titled and mortgaged

Other Assets


Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)


Mediation and Divorce Process

  • Legal separation or no-fault divorce: What’s the difference
  • Do fault grounds still exist?
  • Designation of the plaintiff and defendant in the legal paperwork
  • Fees and resources to process the MOU into the legal system
  • Attorney review
  • How to pay for mediation and divorce
  • For more checklists, visit

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