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Insights // 21 January 2021

How Does a Family Mediator Help to Sort out Your Financial Arrangements When You Separate or Divorce?

How does a mediator help you to sort out financial arrangements on separation? On Day 4 of Family Mediation Week, partner Claire Dyer, in our leading Family Law team, explains.

If you have a Family Law problem, mediation is an effective non-court process to sort out arrangements for children and finances. Please do read our other blog articles posted during Family Mediation Week, and explore our website, to find out more about mediation.

When dealing with financial issues on relationship breakdown, the mediator will help you work through financial and other relevant information and explain legal principles. The mediator will assist in working through possible options that would be acceptable to you both.

There is no formulaic approach to financial mediation, as the mediator will seek to customise the service according to your unique circumstances. Generally however the mediator is likely to take you through the following stages:

  1. Ensure you both have all the relevant financial information and produce it to each other. The mediator can help explain the various forms that will need to be completed, the information required to move the process forward and how to obtain further documents. There is a high threshold of financial disclosure when reaching a financial agreement on divorce, and transparency is required which the mediator will encourage from both parties.
  2. Exploring both your understanding of financial information disclosed. While it is common for one party to have a firm grasp of the disclosure they are providing, it is equally common that the other party may not fully understand the complexities. The mediator will assist by trying to identify any gaps in the information, establishing facts and values and otherwise ensuring that both of you have as level a playing field as possible in terms of your understanding.
  3. Presenting a financial overview and understanding the financial needs. Once the disclosure process is complete, the mediator will help both of you to understand your financial position and how that may translate into realistic financial needs going forward.
  4. Prioritising issues. The mediator will work with both of you to identify what is truly important to each of you and will start working on identifying common ground in terms of mutual aims or areas where there are differences of opinion to be tackled.
  5. Exploring options. With the issues identified, the next task is to consider what options may be available in trying to resolve those issues. This is likely to involve some reality testing of the possible options you have identified together with others which might be open to you. This will ensure that you can make the best-informed choices and that you have both considered possible consequences.
  6. Narrowing gaps and formulating proposals. The mediator will work to narrow any gaps between the two of you and to help identify solutions upon which you have a consensus.

Often mediation will be a fluid process and there may be variations needed to the stages as set out above. Overall, the mediator is there to help you resolve financial matters as effectively as possible. In order to reach mutually acceptable solutions.

For further information or legal advice, please contact law@blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800.

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice. 

Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer

Partner, Family Law

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