When there are money and property matters to be tackled, mediators help both parties to gain a clear understanding of their financial position by gathering and sharing all the details and necessary documents. This process is called financial disclosure and a key aim of mediation is to ensure parties can reach informed settlements based on full and accurate information. From a practical point of view, it is impossible for couples to discuss the division of assets without knowing what assets and liabilities there are, who owns them and their valuations.
Using this information, you will be helped to negotiate on matters such as the family home. The future housing needs of both parties and their children are usually a dominant concern and a starting point for identifying possible options. For example, should one of you remain in the family home or should it be sold and, if so, when and how should the money be divided? In the case of a rented home, should the tenancy be changed or transferred?
Exploring housing needs in broad terms provides a useful framework for looking at income, expenditure and budgets and can provide a reality check on what is financially realistic and meets the objectives of both parties as far as possible.
There may also be questions around maintenance and child support to be considered. How much should each contribute towards the living costs of the children (and possibly of the adults)?
Another important part of the financial equation is whether one person needs to be compensated for the loss of pension rights, endowments and so on.
When sufficient facts are available, the next stage of the mediation process is about identifying possible options, looking at what is feasible and examining the advantages and disadvantages of the various options from the point of view of each party and the children.
On all these issues, the final outcome will depend on the couples view about what they feel is fair (which may not necessarily mean a 50-50 split), what best meets the needs of all members of the family, particularly the children, and consideration of how your circumstances might be expected to change in the future.
Mediators can help couples, in a neutral way, work out the terms of a financial settlement based on each party’s circumstances and needs. Realistic, practical agreements can be reached quickly, without the need of going to Court, and can become legally binding Consent Orders.
Many couples say that mediation helped them to divorce or separate without increasing levels of hostility, and that discussing their problems face-to-face helped them to reach fair solutions tailored to their own circumstances.
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