Our simple, guided, healthy divorce process.
We offer this guide to help you better understand mediation. We know that beginning the divorce process can be challenging and hope this information is helpful to you.
We are here to help you every step of the way.
Let us know if you have any questions.
Karen and Michael Aurit
and the entire Aurit Center Team
Most importantly, take care of yourself throughout your divorce or legal separation process. It is normal to feel nervous, anxious and unsure about many things. You are not alone. We are here to help both of you every step of the way.
Your caring and trusted mediator will guide your process and help you both to feel a sense of relief. Additionally, your Mediation Coordinators will keep track of your entire process and provide you with frequent updates so that you can focus on adjusting to this major life transition.
“You are not alone.”
To help yourself through this process it is best to find some ways to reduce your stress level and enjoy moments of peace. You might schedule a few minutes each day to consider how you are becoming your best self. Before and after meetings, many people find it helpful to treat themselves to something that brings them joy. You might go on a run, go to your favorite restaurant, or get a massage, to help you control your stress level and to center around your strengths. Balance out the challenging times with moments that you can enjoy.
At The Aurit Center we take a unique approach to mediation. We believe in helping both spouses to be their best self and to grow throughout the process. To prepare for your mediation process, do your best to take some time to breathe deeply, knowing that you’ve already made the most important decision by choosing divorce mediation. To learn more, read How do I have a healthy divorce? below.
If at any time you need some extra support, we offer you this list of Preferred Therapists who are qualified professionals who can help.
Table of Contents
“We believe divorce can be done in a healthier way,
and we are here to show you how.”
This guide will help you prepare for your first meeting and explain how to complete your 3-Part Mediation Questionnaire. Completing your Mediation Questionnaire is the best way to prepare for mediation.
You have already begun a healthier process by choosing mediation. Your mediator will guide a respectful process
You can approach mediation with a belief in your ability to find solutions. Even when there are obstacles, challenges, communication breakdowns, and conflict, you can reach agreements in mediation.
We believe divorce very rarely belongs in a courtroom and that a low-stress, low-conflict process is better for everyone involved. We are dedicated to lighting your path forward. With our support, you can have a Healthy Divorce Process when you:
Keep conflict low
Communicate respectfully and save tense conversations for mediation.
Reach out for assistance
Your Mediation Coordinators are here to help you both every step of the way.
Bring any information your mediator suggests you gather in between meetings.
Take the time to reflect
Give yourself space to carefully consider each of your tentative agreements. You may find you have a new perspective regarding your interests during mediation.
Take care of yourself
Take an interest in lowering your stress level in healthy ways. Identify things that bring you a sense of stress reduction and peace. For you, it may be an evening walk, a power workout, reading, or listening to music. Give yourself permission to do more of these things—not less, during this process. Being kind to yourself will have a positive impact on your mediation process.
How you prepare for and approach mediation can greatly impact the efficiency and success of your mediation process.
First and foremost, know that your mindset matters. Even though your emotions evolve during the process, you can keep an open mind and have good intentions. Speaking in a calm tone of voice and believing it is possible to find solutions will also help you have a healthy process.
“Your mindset matters.”
It can be helpful to make a list of any questions you may have and bring it to your meetings. Your mediator will address your questions during your meeting. If at any time you have questions about the mediation process, you can connect with your Mediation Coordinators at 480-999-7399.
If you have minor children, your first meeting will likely focus on your Parenting Plan unless a pressing financial issue requires immediate resolution.
If you don’t have minor children, your first meeting will likely focus on Assets and Debts.
Your completed Questionnaire will contain all the information you need.
Many people find therapy or counseling beneficial before, during, or after their divorce process. Counseling can help you process your emotions, reduce stress, develop effective coping techniques, establish healthy communication and boundaries, and facilitate a smoother transition. Different types of professional services are available depending on your goals.
We believe in providing a mediation process that best supports children’s unique needs. We are here to help you and your co-parent every step of the way. Let us begin by helping you understand what is known about how divorce affects children and what you can do to ensure your children adjust as easily as possible.
Studies show the event of divorce itself does not have a long-lasting effect on children’s emotional and social development. It’s true—What causes damage to a child’s development is ongoing parental conflict. As parents, you can affect how your kids adjust by how you approach your divorce process. Conflict left unresolved is harmful to children.
“Conflict, not the divorce itself,
causes long-term harm to children.”
A study by Wallerstein and Kelly showed that when parents resolve their issues peacefully, children can often adjust quickly and cope with their parent’s separation.
Our divorce mediation services will help you to have the healthiest divorce possible.
We believe in helping both parents to have continued relationships with their kids. While some aspects of conflict between you may linger we want to set you up for the healthiest possible co-parenting relationship.
We understand your kids are your priority. To help them through this process, the first consideration is their age. Younger children tend to have more difficulty coping; however, Allison and Furstenberg (1989) demonstrated that age differences were only significant immediately following the separation and diminished over time. Be prepared to provide extra support to your kids, of all ages, during the initial stages.
Learn all you can about children’s typical reactions and the signs of deeper trouble.
“We understand your kids are your priority.”
Visit our Aurit Mediation Website to explore the multiple resources available to help you, such as:
Get professional assistance whenever necessary. Sometimes, having a place to freely express themselves can go a long way toward their healthy adjustment during the family transition.
At The Aurit Center our #1 goal is protecting the health and well-being of your children. Co-parents who mediate to reach agreements maintain control over your children’s future and each of their relationships with them. In court, a judge makes the decisions for you, with very limited knowledge of your family’s needs.
Your ability to effectively communicate as co-parents will have an enormous impact on your children. Research shows that healthy co-parenting, with very low conflict, protects the health and well-being of children.
By approaching mediation with a willingness to collaborate to find resolution on child-related issues that work for everyone, you will be able to solve problems and set the foundation for healthy co-parents. Even when collaboration feels very challenging, our experienced, professional mediators will help you to communicate in a more productive way.
For the sake of your children you don’t want to be enemies with your co-parent.In mediation, the children’s best interests are always at the forefront.
“Our #1 goal is protecting
the health and well-being of your children.”
Rest assured, when you combine the careful planning you put into developing your Parenting Plan along with your continued dedication to your kids, you and your co-parent can continue to provide consistency and stability for your kids from two homes. With a solid Parenting Plan in place, you can continue to provide for your children’s emotional and physical needs, all while facilitating their successful adjustment.
An important aspect of co-parenting involves ensuring the financial stability of both households. Having two safe, stable, and secure homes will help your kids adapt.
Your Mediator will guide you through every aspect of your Parenting Plan. They will help you create unique agreements that address Parenting Time, Legal Decision-Making, and Child Support. Here are some general considerations that will help you make decisions.
First, your child’s age. Young children do not fully understand the concept of time. Often, children three and under have no understanding of “tomorrow,” and they will likely need more frequent contact with each parent to feel secure.
As children begin to understand the concept of time, around ages seven or eight, they begin to comprehend the concepts of a “week” or a “month.” This allows for more flexibility in your parenting schedules. If you have teenagers, you will want to consider their jobs, extra-curricular activities, and social events when planning your parenting schedule.
Generally, an effective Parenting Plan provides your children with continuous, frequent, and predictable contact for both of you. Our mediators will help you create a parenting schedule that will maximize your time with your children and account for your children’s best interests.
“Our mediators will help you tailor your agreements,
prioritizing your children’s needs.”
Second, your children’s personalities and temperaments. The maturity and temperament of each child will greatly affect your parenting time agreements. Mediators can help you understand the numerous creative options available to help you reach unique agreements which best meet your family’s needs.
Third, keep it practical. If you live only a short distance from your co-parent, frequent exchanges might be possible; if you live far apart, fewer exchanges may be in order. Account for the activities in which your child participates. Your mediator can help you collaboratively develop creative solutions that provide consistency for your kids, ensuring they continue to participate in their usual activities as they adjust to the change in family structure. With effort and guidance, you can give your children a happy two-home family.
We understand that you have unique circumstances, and we can help you create a parenting plan that speaks to the specific needs of your child(ren). Careful planning will help you both help your child(ren) adjust and ensure that they receive the best possible care through and following your family’s transition. We specialize in helping you reach agreements that are in the best interests of your child(ren).
Strong family and community support systems can help ensure your kid’s emotional health. Counseling is one way to provide additional support for your children. Watch for signs that your kids may be struggling to adjust, and seek professional help whenever you think it might be helpful to them. Unfortunately, children often blame themselves when they don’t understand how to cope with emotions, and a counselor can help them gain perspective and maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem.
“We support you in reaching agreements
that support your children’s best interests.”
Your mediator can provide you with valuable information about how children respond to family transitions. They will explain unique and creative options that will allow you to establish a foundational parenting plan. We understand that your children are your priority. We support you in reaching agreements that support your children’s best interests.
It is no small feat to move from your previous role of spouse to your new role as a co-parent. That is where a supportive, detailed, well-thought-out Parenting Plan can make all the difference.
Defining clear and consistent boundaries and guidelines creates stability for both of you, as you aim to provide consistent child-rearing practices with your kids. In mediation, you will learn to communicate in a new way, which will benefit you during your divorce process and into the future. You can find more helpful information in Co-Founder Michael Aurit’s Column, “Courageous Co-Parenting,” as seen in Raising Arizona Kids Magazine.
Some conflict during your separation process is completely normal. The occurrence of conflict, in and of itself, does not necessarily impact your children’s development, as long as you avoid escalation of conflict during divorce, and conflict lowers after divorce concludes.
“[w]hen parents continued fighting after the divorce, and especially when the post-divorce conflict exceeded the marital conflict, the children had a great deal of difficulty accepting and integrating the divorce.” – Wallerstein and Kelly (1980)
Mediation prevents escalation of conflict and sets you up for healthier co-parenting after divorce. We are here to help you keep conflict low and avoid a harmful drawn-out court process. Our swift and peaceful process helps you and your children more easily heal and adjust.
Each of you will complete your own 3-part Questionnaire, which will help your mediator better understand each of your needs. As you are completing your questionnaire, you are welcome to share information with your spouse so as not to duplicate efforts.
|Part 1||Personal Information||Required Documentation|
|Driver’s License||Driver’s license number||For Reference Only|
|Children’s Information||Social Security Numbers and Housing for the last 5 years.||For Reference Only|
|Part 2||Assets & Liabilities|
|Bank Accounts||Checking / Savings / Digital Banking (e.g. PayPal, Venmo), Money Market / CDs, HSAs, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Debts||Credit Cards, Loans, Notes, Leases, Medical Bills, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Real Estate||Homes, Mortgage Statements, Land, Vacation Homes, Buildings, Offices, Timeshares, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Automobiles / Vehicles||Boats, Trailers, Motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Retirement Accounts||IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), ESOP, Pension, TS:, ASRS, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Brokerage Investment Accounts||Investment Account Statements||Most Recent|
|Annuities||Mutual Funds, Annuities, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Stock Options and RSUs||Stocks, Restricted Stock Units, Plan or Statements||Most Recent|
|Life Insurance||Policy and statements||Most Recent|
|Accounts Receivable||Loans made to others that are owed to you, Notes, Etc.||Most Recent|
|Business Interests||The Business Schedule C from the most recent tax return, along with Income/Expense (Profit/Loss) Statements||Most Recent|
|Income Tax Refunds & Debts||Tax Returns, W-2’s (Personal) for the last 3 years.||Most Recent|
|Valuable Personal Property, Furnishings, Etc.||Artwork, collectibles, etc. List of items with an estimate of fair market value for each item, not replacement value.||For Reference Only|
|Other Assets||Cryptocurrency, Rewards/Points/Miles, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Royalties, Personal Injury Lawsuits, Etc.||Discretionary|
|Part 3||Monthly Income & Expense Documents|
|Pay Stubs||Pay Stubs||Most Recent 3 Months|
|Monthly Expenses||Utility Bills and Household Expenses Statements||For Reference Only|
|Children-related Expenses||Extracurricular/Medical For children common to the marriage||For Reference Only|
|Health & Dental Insurance||Cost of Coverage||For Reference Only|
|Childcare / School Tuition||Receipts or proof-of-payment showing cost||For Reference Only|
|Expenses associated with special needs||For a child that is a party to the case||For Reference Only|
The information in Part 1 helps us prepare your legal documents. Please ensure the accuracy of this information for accuracy and submit prior to your first meeting.
A completed Questionnaire will lead to productive conversations during meetings. Fill out as much as possible, skipping items that do not apply to your circumstance. More information is better than less.
Organize your financial information and complete the asset and debt section to the best of your ability. Include details such as account numbers and whose name is on each account. If you are unsure about a detail, you can leave it blank for now.
Arizona law requires Full Financial Disclosure between spouses, whether a divorce occurs in mediation or litigation. Completing Part 2 of your Questionnaire and sharing supporting documents, fulfills this requirement. All spouses must disclose all information related to their assets, debts, and income during the divorce process, whether joint or separate property, acquired before or during the marriage.
Note: All accounts opened prior to marriage and accounts in only the spouse’s name must be disclosed. It is essential to disclose these accounts in your Final Decree, even if they will remain with only one of you.
Note: In litigation, this process is referred to as Formal Legal Discovery. This process is led by attorneys and often results in increased conflict and legal fees.
Your Questionnaire will change and evolve throughout your process. Part 3 will help each of you develop an understanding of your future expenses when you are each living in your own residences. This information helps guide a comprehensive discussion and will give you important, practical information about your financial circumstances.
When listing monthly expenses, please be as accurate, realistic, and reasonable as possible. Gather information as needed to help you estimate expenses. You can refer to past bills, budgets, or credit card statements to see what you typically spend. If you have not previously paid an expense, such as rent, look into the costs in your area in order to make your best estimate.
Financial statements are an important part of the financial disclosure process. If you share accounts, and both have open and free access to them, it is still important to upload statements if either of you requests them. Arizona law requires that each of you disclose any and all financial information to which only one of you has access. There are links within your Questionnaire to securely upload documents. Additionally, you can email your Mediation Coordinators at any time to request that a new secure link be emailed to you.
If you have any questions about your process, the Aurit Center team is here to help.
The most effective way to communicate with your Mediator between meetings is to send them an email.
To learn more about the Aurit Center Team please click here.
Generally, it is best to save conversations about challenging divorce topics for mediation meetings, where your Mediator will serve as your guide.
“It is best to encourage and support your spouse’s
well-being throughout your process.”
If you both decide to discuss a divorce issue such as “who keeps the house” or “how to share time with the kids”, outside of mediation, and tension or conflict begins to arise, it is helpful if you both respectfully agree to stop the conversation and continue the discussion in your next mediation meeting. Only talk about divorce issues outside of mediation if you both feel the conversation is positive and productive.
It is best to encourage and support your spouse’s well-being throughout your process. This will help to keep conflict as low as possible, reducing stress for everyone involved. If you are parents, concern for your spouse’s well-being will translate into a healthier co-parenting relationship which will ultimately be in your children’s best interests.
The following guidelines from your Agreement to Mediate can help your communication in a healthy way:
In mediation you will think about and communicate based upon your Interests, not your Positions. Interests are the reasons why you want or need something. Positions are where you stand on a topic without providing information as to why you feel the way you do. In court, each spouse takes a position and they argue in support of their position.
In mediation at The Aurit Center, your mediator will help you to focus on what each of you wants and needs, and why. You don’t have to agree with the other person about their wants and needs but understanding your own interests is a real game changer in being able to reach agreements. When your mediator understands why certain things are important to each of you they can help you create unique agreements that satisfy both of you. As you prepare for mediation, you can start thinking about your wants and needs, and the ‘whys’ behind them, being genuine and honest with yourself.
You can choose to pay your flat fee before your first meeting if you mutually agree on how to divide payment. Otherwise, our Mediation Coordinators will be happy to review options with you and take payment at the beginning of your first meeting.
You have a choice to pay in full or through a 3, 6, or 12-month Splitit payment plan. You can contact us anytime to learn more about our payment plan options. To learn more about pricing, you can also click here.
You will receive an email from The Aurit Center with a link to your 3-part Mediation Questionnaire. As you complete part two, you will be asked for the information necessary for Voluntary Disclosure, which is simply identifying your assets, debts, and income and providing statements when necessary. You do not need to upload statements for shared accounts, to which you both have access, unless requested.
Our simple and comprehensive online form is easy to fill out and organizes the information for you. As with any other part of your process, your Mediation Coordinators can answer any questions and provide assistance.
You will each fill out your own Mediation Questionnaire where you will document your assets, such as: bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, vehicles, stocks, timeshares, and any other assets you may have, as well as an debts, such as: credit card balances, loans, and other debts.
In litigation, both parties endure a Formal Legal Discovery process which is likely to escalate conflict, cause the process to drag on for long periods of time and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
In Arizona, the consequences of hiding assets or being untruthful about income are the same in mediation and litigation are the same and can be severe, which provides security in the voluntary disclosure process.
For more information see ‘What do I need to know about Part 2 – Assets and Debts?’ listed above.
Our Preferred Legal Advisors are Arizona Divorce and Family Law attorneys who have agreed to work with our clients in the capacity of a “legal advisor,” rather than “attorney of record” or “formal attorney representation.”
They will waive their upfront retainer fee – a rare opportunity reserved for Aurit Center clients. You only pay an hourly fee for any time spent with your advisor between your mediation meetings or for any work done reviewing your draft Consent Decree before you sign. You are welcome to meet with more than one of them. You are also welcome to meet with an attorney who is not on our list. When choosing a legal advisor, find someone that supports your healthy process and that you feel is trustworthy.
Contact Advisors directly to learn about their individual hourly rates. Any legal advisor fees are paid directly to your advisor.
The most important consideration in choosing your mediator is trust. We offer a free consultation so that you can meet your mediator in order to get a sense of their genuine caring and trustworthy approach.
The issues you will cover in mediation are personal and sensitive and often involve complicated emotions. We want you to know that your mediator has the knowledge and skill to help you reach agreements as efficiently as possible.
Our mediators believe in a healthier divorce process and are here to help you both.
Published date: Apr 11, 2022
We hope you found this guide helpful.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
“We believe divorce can be done in a healthier way,
and we are here to help you every step of the way.”
Wishing you all the best,
— Karen and Michael Aurit
and the entire Aurit Center Team