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Separating/Divorce Checklist

December 18, 2015

Minnesota Help MinnesotaWhen a couple with children decides it is time to separate, there are suddenly many things to think through and decide, in addition to processing the very difficult emotions of the decision. It is a time that can be extremely overwhelming, filled with emotions of sadness, anger and confusion. Creating a checklist of items related to the separation/divorce that you need complete or consider is one very tangible way to begin the process of moving forward, without forgetting anything major.

Here are some items that are generally decided during the process of a separation or divorce. If you are planning to explore the avenue of mediation or work with an attorney, gathering materials related to this checklist will give you a jumpstart into this process.

Custody Issues

  • Which parent will have legal custody of the children and be responsible for making healthcare decisions and other major life decisions (ie. education, religion, etc.).
  • How will physical custody be divided? This includes time during the week, weekends, holidays, summer, vacation, travel, and activities that the children are involved in. What happens when there is a change in plans. Is time swapped, or does the parent who needed the change forfeit their time with the children?

Child and Spousal Support and Other Financial Related Issues

  • Is spousal support warranted? If so, how much and how often will it be paid?
  • How will child support be determined? If so, how much and how often will it be paid (and for how long)?
  • How will expenses like daycare, health insurance, living expenses be paid?

Distribution of Property

  • Make a determination of how much does the unit have in terms of assets and debts.
    • Assets: Savings, checking accounts, stocks, investments, inheritance, property
    • Debts: Credit cards, consumer debt, personal debt, student loans, mortgage, tax debt
  • Will someone live in the family home? If so, how does this impact the division of property?
  • Items that will need to be distributed between the couple or sold and divided: vehicles, furniture, personal belongings, jewelry, etc.


  • It is wise to develop a communication plan early in the separation process so that this is clear to both parties all along. If children are involved, the couple should decide how parent/child phone calls should be handled.

Johnson Mediation: Can Help Tackle This Checklist With You

Mediation is often a very successful way to manage the difficult process of separation and divorce. The team at Johnson Mediation has many years of experience working with couples and families to sort all of these issues out, one by one, so that everyone can look ahead and begin to take steps toward a healthy future. If you are interested in learning more about the mediation process, contact us at 952-401-7599 to set up a time for a free consultation.

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