8 STEPS IN THE PROCESS OF FINANCIAL MEDIATION
It can be difficult for many couples going through a divorce or separation to agree on the financial terms of their divorce or separation. There is a great deal of conflicting information available; many well-intentioned family members and friends may provide wrong counsel; and if you Google “what should a fair financial settlement be? “, you will likely get a variety of conflicting responses and even more uncertainty. This blog discusses the mediation procedure that Mediate Croydon use to assist you in reaching a fair and beneficial financial arrangement. We know that following this procedure is effective in 90% of instances.
Family law is concerned with ensuring that your future needs are satisfied and that your children are given priority in any arrangement. Our Comprehensive Guide to Financial Settlements describes in detail the Section 25 elements that a judge might consider.
Obviously, you are able to agree on whatever you both deem reasonable. To have your agreement made legally enforceable by a financial consent order, however, the court must agree that you have reached a reasonable arrangement.
A court is more likely to do so if both of you have completed a comprehensive financial disclosure and enlisted the assistance of Family Mediation Croydon or a family law attorney.
Our blog post on the eleven strategies to establish an agreement might be of use here. Even if you are unable to reach an agreement, determining how you will attempt to negotiate a financial settlement will save you both time, worry, and money.
Family Mediation Croydon is one of these strategies. Family Mediation Croydon is typically required prior to filing a court application for a financial order, and for good reason – it works! This section describes the financial mediation procedure.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF FINANCIAL MEDIATION?
STEP ONE – MIAM
We initially meet with you personally. This meeting is known as a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). We must do this with you both separately (you may bring a support person), and we do these sessions through online mediation or in person at one of our Family Mediation Croydon locations. The majority of individuals discover it simpler and faster to hold this initial MIAM online.
Using a flowchart, our page titled “What is Family Mediation Croydon?” describes the procedure in further detail.
Once you and your spouse have finished your MIAMs, you can complete your financial disclosure, unless there is an urgent and pressing problem to mediate.
IMPORTANT FINANCIAL ISSUE
Some spouses may have an upcoming mortgage payment that may be missed, or other critical expenditures that require agreement. This is required prior to beginning a financial disclosure or dividing the assets. In such situations, if both clients agree, you can meet with your family mediator and reach an agreement on the pressing issue(s) at a combined Mediation Croydon session.
Two-Step Financial Disclosure
If no such emergency occurs, you will both be required to provide your financial information.
You have three disclosure choices for your finances.
Option 1 – Comprehensive Financial Disclosure on Form E
This comprises a variety of evidence, such as a year’s worth of bank statements. If you are seeking a pecuniary order from the court, you must submit this form. Both parties must sign their Form E acknowledging its accuracy. If you intentionally supply incorrect information, you may be committing fraud, which might find you in legal problems if you seek a financial order in court. Here, you can view and download Form E.
OPTION 2 – Disclaimer ON MEDIATE UK’S FORMS
That’s the refers to the process by 80% of our customers. The spreadsheets provide a total financial disclosure as acknowledged by the courts and attorneys, but are easier to fill than a Form E.
OPTION 3 – HIGH LEVEL DISCLOSURE
This is the minimum needed information for Form D81. It contains the sums of your properties, assets, pensions, and liabilities. However, they are not dismantled. If you desire to utilise this option, you must get legal counsel on the potential legal ramifications and sign Mediate UK’s disclaimer.
If you are unable to agree on the type of disclosure to employ, you will be required to complete Form E, option 1, since this is what the court would require.
WHY IS A FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIRED?
If you need a legally enforceable agreement at the conclusion, you must get a financial consent order. This is the only method to guarantee a clean separation and a legally enforceable agreement that protects both parties. In order to obtain a court-approved consent order that cannot be later challenged or revoked, you both must provide this financial disclosure.
THIRD STEP – CONSENTING TO THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
This is a crucial process phase. Any technique you employ to achieve a financial settlement will need that you and your spouse have both made and consented to a financial disclosure. The court will require you to do one if you do not. And if they feel you are being unreasonable or irritating the process, they may consider this when allocating attorney fees and even when rendering a verdict.
Your mediator will review the financial disclosures you have submitted and confirm that you both agree with them. It is impossible to proceed with the mediation process to achieve an agreement without a complete financial picture, which is why we request that you bring all of your financial information, including pension assessments, to the financial mediation session. This is unnecessary if you are addressing parental issues.
STEP FOUR – EXCHANGING DISCLOSURES
The sharing of financial declarations is a crucial aspect of the procedure. This can be done before to your first joint Mediation Croydon session or, more commonly, after the conclusion of the financial disclosure session described above. The mediator will not analyse your financial disclosures or retain copies of your evidence, such as bank statements, credit card statements, etc. They will document the information shared between you two.
Exchanging financial information before to your first joint Mediation Croydon session enables you to seek legal counsel, which may be advantageous in your case. If not, you may seek this counsel between sessions if you believe you need legal direction.
STEP FIVE – HOW DO WE DIVIDE UP OUR ASSETS AND DEBTS?
Here is where the answer to the following question is required:
How can we equitably split our assets and liabilities so that we may both move on with our lives and satisfy our future needs?
If you can collaborate with your mediator to solve this issue, you are far more likely to establish a fair, decent, and manageable agreement than if you approach the matter with the mindset of “how can I get the most out of this?” Family law does not actually support the second question.
Your mediator will assist you in determining your requirements and how they might be addressed with the available funds. The table below may be useful in illustrating which elements are typically considered and which are not when a court reaches a settlement.
Don’t forget to go back to the ‘Ultimate Guide to a Financial Settlement,’ which discusses these aspects in full.
WHAT ARE MY REAL REQUIREMENTS?
For many clients, the requirement to finance two households, while previously only one was required, is the primary issue that you and your client must resolve. Check up our blog post on the 10 alternatives for a property in a divorce or separation, as it may present you with ideas you hadn’t considered.
Examine Rightmove or Zoopla to determine the cost of a home in the location where you intend to reside that meets your reasonable living requirements.
Determine your mortgage eligibility based on your present and projected income. How much is your credit limit? And how much will the mortgage payments be each month? Are you able to maximise your income whilst living apart? You may qualify for further assistance through universal credits or a decrease in your council tax payment. This calculator will help you determine if you are eligible for additional monthly budget assistance.
CASE STUDY: REASONABLE REQUIREMENTS
Jessie and Tyler have two children, a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. They resided in a 4 or 5 bedroom home. Jessie owned her own daycare business and also worked as a private nanny. Tyler was a project manager for IT.
They decided that the children would largely reside with Jessie, since she was able to schedule her job around their needs, and that they would visit their father every Wednesday evening and every weekend.
Jessie desired to remain in the home while Tyler rented a neighbouring apartment. Tyler desired that the house be sold and that they both purchase a three-bedroom home. They chose Family Mediation Croydon to assist them in reaching an agreement.
In Mediation Croydon, they examined their earning capability, mortgage calculators, and home prices after following the aforesaid disclosure procedure. They were unable to afford two 3-bedroom homes, but they could afford a 3-bedroom home and a 2-bedroom maisonette. The former marital residence was sold, and Jessie purchased the three-bedroom home with £300,000 from the profits and an £80,000 mortgage.
Tyler combined £75,000 in equity with a £200,000 mortgage to purchase a 2-bedroom maisonette with a huge living space that could be transformed into a sleeping area for his son when he visited.
After meeting their necessities, they divided the remainder of their assets evenly. In addition, they decided that Tyler should retain a larger portion of his private pension to compensate for the uneven distribution of the house equity.
This was the only alternative that would fit them both in their separate residences and allow them to accomplish a financial clean break.
SIXTH STEP – IS IT AFFORDABLE?
The family mediator validated the aforesaid arrangement and determined that Jessie could afford her mortgage and household expenses. This was completed using a future projection.
depends on the size of the home in the neighbourhood, council tax, and total household costs. But if Jessie had been unable to pay these fees and, as a result, fallen behind on her mortgage payments and had her home seized, this arrangement would not have been possible.
A crucial aspect of the financial settlement is verifying the agreement’s validity and determining if recurring payments are required between the parties. It demonstrates to the court that you have considered your and the children’s future requirements. Spousal maintenance may come into play; however, if you have an order for spousal support, you cannot obtain a clean break. Read our “Ultimate Guide to Spousal Maintenance” for additional details on how this works and the possibility of capitalising (paying a lump amount) the spousal maintenance.
If you have children, you may also need to consider child support, depending on the agreed-upon child arrangements and the children’s ages.
Both parties must plan their future finances and reach an agreement on what is appropriate. While child support is often required by law, the subject of spousal support should become evident once you both complete this exercise.
SEVENTH STEP – THE DOCUMENTATION AND LEGAL ADVICE
After you have achieved an agreement, the family mediator will prepare for you two documents:
A financial statement admissible in court The financial statement details your present assets, liabilities, and income.
A memorandum of comprehension The memorandum describes the distribution of these assets and any ongoing payments.
Currently, the memorandum is not legally binding, so you may take it to your own attorney for review, or you can take full advantage of Mediate UK’s one-hour memoranda legality check, which includes a written report of your legal counsel.
Minor adjustments can be made by mutual consent, and typos can be repaired by the mediator, but major changes must be agreed upon in a subsequent joint mediation Croydon session.
Once you and your counterpart are satisfied with your memorandum, you may move to the last stage.
EIGHTH STEP – MAKE YOUR CONTRACT LEGALLY BINDING
Once an agreement has been struck, it might be implemented without being rendered legally enforceable. However, many people desire the security of a financial consent order on divorce, or a separation agreement if they are not married or divorcing later. Refer to our ‘Ultimate Guide to a Separation Agreement’ for specifics on what is and is not permitted.
For many individuals, a financial consent order is the only method to achieve a legally enforceable financial arrangement and, if agreed upon, a clean financial separation with their ex-spouse.
A financial consent order can be obtained in one of three ways:
- Online Consent Order. Divorce Online can turn your agreement into a legally enforceable consent decree.
- Mediate UK Package – We provide a mediation and consent order package at a fixed charge. It involves mediation, a memorandum, and a lawyer to manage your consent order with the court peacefully.
- Use Your Own Attorney. They can prepare the order and communicate with the court on your behalf. You may also consult a lawyer over the substance of the order.
The actual preparation and processing of the consent order should always be performed by a family attorney, despite the fact that there are several solutions to accommodate varying budgets and degrees of complexity.
However, your agreement is where the true value rests. If you are unable to achieve a reasonable arrangement between yourselves or via Family Mediation Croydon or any alternative conflict resolution procedure, you might wind up in court paying an average of £20,000 plus VAT on attorney and professional fees before a judge decides what will happen.
This blog walks you through the Mediation Croydon process to reach a fair agreement and offers guidance on what factors you should consider to help you agree on your futures; however, it does not constitute legal advice, and we always recommend that you seek independent legal counsel before, during, or after the Mediation Croydon process.