One of the main worries everybody has on separation is what their financial future will look like and how they can be secure. Mediation is a relatively quick and cheap way of sorting out what to do.
Do I Need a Court Order?
Government statistics show that most people who divorce don’t have a legally binding order about their finances. That means that they probably sort everything out by agreement between them. What they don’t realise is that means that the other person can make claims years ahead. Just think if you had a claim on your pension years after your divorce. What’s more you can’t obtain any of your spouse’s pension (often one of the most valuable assets) without a court order.
How Can Mediation Help?
People often don’t know where to start. That’s where we can help. Nobody can decide how to divide everything up without knowing what’s there in the first place. In financial mediation there is a disclosure process where both people have to give evidence of things like income, savings and pension values. Also we will help you work out how to value things such as your house.
We also explain what the law is about how finances are resolved when people divorce. We don’t give individual advice but we do tell you what the law is from a neutral stand point.
We also help the two of you look at what is realistic and achievable. We help you look at the whole picture so not just how you split things like the house but also how everything will work so that you can both meet your outgoings in the future.
In mediation you look at everything in a holistic way so that you can both see what will work going forward. Mediation leaves you in the driving seat with the assistance of the mediator to create a solution which will work for you.
Anne Braithwaite spent almost 30 years as a divorce lawyer and has a wealth of experience of the law on matrimonial finance. She has over the years dealt with all sorts of cases from those where the main problem is how to make what’s available work for both people to cases involving family businesses, large pensions and considerable assets.
What If We Aren’t Married or in a Civil Partnership?
It’s true that the law on what happens when a cohabitation ends is far more limited than when a marriage or civil partnership does. However there is room to consider claims when there are children which may allow one person for example to buy or stay in a house. We will explain the law around this.
Do We Need to Get On to Mediate?
The short answer is “No”. We are used to dealing with couples who are very conflicted. It’s our job at the initial meetings which we have with you both to see whether there is a potential to work things out. Don’t assume that, just because you can’t get anywhere in direct discussions or through your solicitors that all is lost. It’s our job to run the process in an even handed way so that both your issues come into the mediation and then to help you both test your individual expectations against what is both realistically achievable and also what the legal position is.
One of the main points of mediation is that it’s a direct negotiation but with a neutral third party leading the discussions whose job is to try to help you both to move forward to resolution.