Property and Finance mediation follows a process that the mediator explains and works through with you, and takes between 3 and 5 sessions, depending upon complexity. This process is set out below.
Identify the issues in dispute between you - What do you need to sort out? E.g. house, pensions, debts, children issues?
Determine an agreed shared timeline - of the key events in your lives together – this can help explain and inform subsequent decisions you take when deciding how to separate your finances and or arrangements for your children.
Explore the issues identified above - to aid understanding and generate actions to be undertaken before the next session.
Identify principles and or priorities for you e.g. you might want the children to remain in the family home ensure a division of assets you feel is fair.
Disclosure of financial information -
Married/Civil Partners - full disclosure and supporting evidence of all assets, liabilities, income, pensions (plus expenditure where relevant) is required to make any proposals legally binding.
Unmarried - you have a choice about the limits of disclosure and will need to decide what disclosure is relevant to your decision-making.
After disclosure is complete -
Production of the Open Financial Statement (OFS) – This is a summary of the facts of your finances at an agreed date. Either of you can use this information openly, for example, to take legal advice about options.
Option development - You may each have a preferred option and will have the opportunity to think of other possibilities too. Because disclosure is complete, you should be in an informed position to identify realistic options.
Further Action Planning – This is the time to determine if you need any more information to reality test identified options? E.g. can you get a mortgage? or do you need advice on pension options. You may wish to take legal advice on preferred options.
Narrow Options - Information gained above will help you to rule out some options as unachievable or undesirable.
Agreed Proposals - Negotiating any outstanding issues to reach mutually acceptable agreed proposals, ensuring everything has been considered.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - A summary of your mutually acceptable proposals. It sets out who you are and who your family is, what you have, and what (if anything) you owe, what you intend to do with what you have, why, how you are going to make that happen and when. If you have children it will also record your proposals for where they live and when they spend time with each of you as well as your financial provision for them. This document is legally privileged, so it is not an open document and cannot be produced in court without the consent of both of you. Your solicitor will use the MOU and OFS to draft any legal orders that are needed to make the arrangements legally binding.
All Issues Mediation
The process is set by you in terms of what you wish to discuss first, your children or finances. The matters are then usually discussed separately and follow a similar process to the process above or as set out in our blog ‘What happens in mediation?’.
Please see our page Clients’ Stories for more information about the types of scenarios in which mediation can help.
Or for more information about what is discussed in this blog please call us on 01670 528441 or contact us via our website.