How mediation works in finance and property cases
Separation can bring serious financial challenges and it can be difficult to discuss new arrangements.
Mediation gives you the opportunity to work out:
- Who will live where
- How to share assets, such as the house and savings, and debts
- How to deal with the mortgage / tenancy
- Monthly budgeting, child and spousal maintenance
- What to do with pensions so that retirement needs are met.
It’s not unusual for two people in a couple to take different roles so that, on separation, one has more knowledge of the family finances than the other. Mediation recognises this and helps to re-balance this understanding via the exchange of information:
- You collect details of your financial information and bring it to the meeting with supporting paperwork. (We use a slightly friendlier version of the Form E which is completed for court).
- At the meeting, financial disclosure involves the mediator collating and displaying this information, asking questions to help ensure everyone has the understanding they need.
- We may ask you to seek additional information - eg from financial advisors, mortgage brokers, or pension experts.
- Once all relevant information has been gathered, your mediator will help you identify your possible choices and check these against your goals. We encourage you to take a practical view, considering your needs, preferences and financial viability.
- In this way, a clear set of proposals can be identified. Mediators don’t give legal advice. We can recommend an appropriate time to take legal advice during the mediation process.
- At the end of the process, your mediator will prepare an Open Financial Statement (details of your current financial situation) and a Memorandum of Understanding (your proposals for settlement). These can form the basis of a consent order to finalise your financial arrangements on divorce, so that your proposals become legally binding.
You might wonder how you will reach decisions on these issues if the mediator doesn’t tell you what to do, particularly if you have strongly differing views. The mediation process helps you to weigh up different options, so that you can see how they would affect you now and in the future. As you gain a better understanding of your needs and priorities, and those of the other person, the options which most meet everyone needs become easier to identify.