How We Can Help
We can help you reach agreement about property and finances through financial mediation.
Whether you are married, in a civil partnership or unmarried cohabiters, when you separate there are likely to be several financial matters that will have to be sorted before you can move on.
The first step to successfully mediating financial issues is to establish a complete and accurate picture of the whole situation. In divorce, the law requires that any financial settlement is based on a full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information. For unmarried couples it may also be worth adopting a similar approach as the foundation of any settlement.
Financial disclosure requires you to list all assets, liabilities, income and expenditure. We have forms available to help with this process. You need to establish an approximate date to which the financial information relates.
The purpose of financial disclosure is to make sure you have all the knowledge and information you require about each other’s financial circumstances to make informed decisions. This is usually written up in a clear statement supported by the documents clients have exchanged called an Open Financial Statement.
Our mediators understand the law relating to family finances so can assist you in exploring all the options available to you to assist you to making an informed decision.
Whilst our mediators will assist you to obtain information, they cannot advise either party. If you require advice, you will obtain this from an independent solicitor and usually, you will take the Open Financial Statement and the supporting documents with you, and explain any ideas, you or the other party may have about how things should be settled.
Many solicitors now offer a fixed fee interview so that you know what you are going to pay in advance of the meeting.
Why Agree Through Financial Mediation?
Going to court can be very expensive – emotionally and financially. It can also be very time consuming. Mediation requires clients to listen to each other and consider each other’s future needs, legal rights and the rights and needs of any minor children.
Is The Agreement Through Financial Mediation Legally Binding?
Negotiations are usually “without prejudice” whether they are via solicitors or in mediation until a final settlement is reached. Clients need to put forward ideas, compromise and negotiate to try and reach a settlement that is acceptable to both parties, so they keep costs to a minimum.
If clients reach a settlement in mediation it will usually be written up in a Memorandum of Understanding.
which may also set out what clients have agreed regarding the children. Clients are then free to take this document to their respective solicitors and discuss what areas can be put into a Court Order.
What If I Do Not Trust The Other Person To Be Honest In Their Financial Disclosure?
Whenever couples separate or divorce there is likely to be a significant element of mistrust. Any suspicion that either party is withholding or falsifying financial information is likely to be very damaging to the process of financial disclosure and may make it impossible for us to draw up any Open Financial Statement. Disputes in respect of financial disclosure are very difficult and potentially hugely expensive to resolve. We therefore strongly recommend that you both adopt a straightforward, honest and business-like approach to the tedious but necessary process of ascertaining and documenting the information required. In that way we can help keep your mediation on track and move towards a financial settlement which takes full account of the reality of your particular situation and the best way to deploy available resources to meet the your and your children’s needs.
Open Financial Statement
An Open Financial Statement is a document we produce once we have financial disclosure from both of you. An Open Financial Statement is a schedule of financial information, as the information is obtained.
Once we have all the figures, and they have been documented, discussed and agreed, we put the information in a schedule, which is called an Open Financial Statement, supported by the relevant documentation.
This is a document you can take to your solicitor who can advise you about the fairness of any agreement you have reached at mediation.
The benefit of going through financial disclosure at mediation and agreeing the contents of an Open Financial Statement, as opposed to going through the process via a solicitor or court, is that the process will cost significantly less through the mediation process rather than going through solicitors or courts and could in the majority of cases save you thousands in legal costs. The other main advantage of agreeing the contents of an Open Financial Statement through mediation as opposed to going through solicitors or courts is during meditation, the process can be completed in a very short space of time, saving you a considerable amount of time and delays through the court process.
Unlike all the other documents which we prepare in mediation, the Open Financial Statement is not confidential or ‘without prejudice.’ It is, essentially a statement of evidence which you will both need to sign off as honest and accurate. It may be produced in court, or to a solicitor or legal representative as evidence that a full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information has been properly undertaken in your case. As mediators we can only record the information you provide for us, we cannot verify it or confirm its accuracy. We therefore ask you both to sign the open financial statement; your signatures guarantee its authenticity.
Memorandum of Understanding
A Memorandum of Understanding is a document that your family mediator will issue at the conclusion of your mediation. It is a summary of everything that you and your ex-partner agree during mediation. It is an important document, as it can also be used by your solicitors to draft financial or consent orders.
Although it not a legally binding document, it contains everything needed for a last agreement, especially because both parties have agreed to it content and agree to abide by the outcomes from the mediation.
The document can summarise many forms of mediation including child living or contact arrangements; summary of financial agreements; agreements to resolve family disputes or even who gets to care for your pets.
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Weekend appointments are available on request
*We can offer a limited number of pre-arranged mediation sessions outside of office hours subject to agreement and availability. All mediation sessions are held either at our offices or remotely via video conferencing software e.g. Zoom.