Hi - well we have arranged to go to mediation to sort out the financial aspects of out up coming divorce. Does anybody know what the first meeting will be about and what can I expect from it? I am hoping that we will be given advice as to how to split assets. Not sure if this happens or if we each go in with our ideas and they mediate on this? In this case is it a case of bidding higher than you are hoping the split goes with the idea of being negotiated down. I haven't got a clue - has anybody been through this?
Thanks for any advice
Currently going through this. Primarily, it is all about assessing your combined asset base, your current income levels and your expected future requirements, based around care arrangements for any dependants.
At your first session, the mediator will want to know about your current income, and if I remember correctly, your STBX is in the job market. if you have a very low income, you may qualify for free or discounted mediation (usually £90 per session).
It would be advisable to take copies of all of your bank statements, investments, share or other asset ownership, a recent mortgage statement, an approximate valuation of all of your other assets - home contents, cars, second homes etc - specifically single any item worth over £500.00 (e.g. antique furniture, boat etc).
The mediator will complete a standard form with all this info and talk to you about arrangements for dependants.
At the end of the day, he is looking to fill out a standard form which is the basis of the final settlement when your divorce is before the court.
The fundamental premise of mediation is that of mutual agreement. If you don't agree, no agreement will be reached. It may feel a bit hissy at times, but the mediator acts to keep you focussed on the matter in hand, rather than the emotions and 'he said / she said' scenarios played out in the privacy of your home.
We were told that there is an expectation of a final agreement within four sessions, with each session usually a couple of weeks apart.
As to what to put in your needs statement, that is a matter for you and your conscience. If the STBX is likely to beat you down, jack it up. If not - be honest - better to be as amicable as possible in the circumstances - you still are both parents to your kids and will undoubtedly cross paths on several future occasions.
Best of luck with it - it does feel very peculiar to be discussing in an impassionate way how to divi up your life together so far.