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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Do you need help sorting out a fair financial settlement?

Our consultant service offers expert advice and support to help you reach agreement on a fair financial settlement quickly, and for less than a quarter of the cost of using a traditional high street solicitor.


Amicable agreement

  • Tokyorose
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27 Mar 09 #102463 by Tokyorose
Topic started by Tokyorose
My husband and I would like our separation to be as amicable as possible and as cheap as possible as there is no spare cash for legal fees.

Would you say that mediation would be the way to go?

Or is collaborative law better?

I don't know which to start with.

I am going to speak to a resolution solicitor today just to give the details she then says she will be able to advise me which way to go, but obviously some impartial advice would be good first.

Many thanks:)

  • LittleMrMike
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29 Mar 09 #103090 by LittleMrMike
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In the first place, I recommend that you get some legal advice on your own account so that you can get an idea of where you stand and have a benchmark against which you can measure any proposals that may emerge.

Other things being equal mediation is likely to be cheaper. But if your finances are complicated then the CL route may be worth considering as they do bring in financial or other experts if necessary.

But I congratulate you both on your common sense and the result is likely to be that you keep a lot more of your hard earned cash.

Mike

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15 Apr 09 #107642 by Imediate
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First of all, I am sorry I didn't see your post earlier and I reallise my response might be too late, but I have been away.

Secondly, I should point out the obvious (from the name I use)fact that I am a mediator and therefore could be biased. However, I do try to keep bias out of my arguments as to do otherwise would not be helpful and I will add that I switched careers because I believe strongly in the benefits of mediation, which are set out in the long article I wrote for this site's library.

So, not surprisingly, my answer to you question is yes, but much of the success or otherwise will depend the attitude of you and your spouse; you both may have to compromise as it is unlikely that you will be able to retain everything that you want (which might be most of the family pot and all of your income!).

From the way you write, it would appear that you are good candidates for a successful mediation (if that sounds patronising, I don't mean it to be and apologise). Of course, some of the success will depend on the qualities of the mediator - some are better than others. If you are dissatisfied with your mediator, switch to another one.

Is mediation better than collaborative law? Yes and no, which isn't much help. I like to think that CL emerged because lawyers could see the benefits of mediation and didn't like the fact that mediators we snaring a small (much too small in my view) proportion of 'their' fees, so they produced their own version of mediation. So the answer is yes as it is less expensive and you do not have two sets of lawyers. No as it is unlikely that your mediator will have the depth of legal knowledge of a collaborative lawyer.

However, for 99.9% of mediation cases I believe it is not vital to have such extensive knowledge. The reason for this is that all that is trying to be achieved, whichever route you go dowm, is an acceptable and practical division of assets and income. You do need to have some knowledge of the law, an understanding of what the Courts will accept, an idea of what you don't know in depth and law books on your bookshelf. (Perhaps I should add that I am in the (?)fortunate position of being a non-practising chartered accountant working in close association with a non-practising solicitor so our understanding of what we don't know in depth and where to look it up is probably better than most.)

If there is a fight brewing, then legal advice needs to be sought - but that can be done within the framework of the mediation process.

In any case, when I have brought a couple to agreement, I strongly recommend that the Separation Agreement or memorandum of agreement is taken to their lawyers for confirmation that the document is satisfactory (at which time in more than 50% of cases they usually try to reopen the argument by saying I can get you more or you don't need to part with that). So I don't cur out lawyers comletely and, should the need arise, I am entirely happy that clients lawyers during the mediation process.

On balance, if you and your case are appropriate for mediation, I would strongly recommend you try it first. If you feel it isn't working, you can always stop it and fall into the expensive arms of a lawyer! It is unlikely that any money spent on mediation will be wasted, as it is probable that it is cheaper for a mediator to compile information than a couple of lawyers.

Whichever route you decide to go down, I hope it works out as well as possible for both of you.

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15 Apr 09 #107677 by Tokyorose
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Thank you imediate for your advice. We both have an appointment with a mediator on Monday. This first appointment is apparently an assessment and is free. From what I can gather we are both seen separately for a few minutes each and then together. I assume this first appointment is to gauge whether we are good candidates for mediation.

I do hope that this works for us, however we have a tendancy to get a little heated when we disagree with each other so we will have to make an effort not to let this happen.

We have come to a loose financial agreement between ourselves already, will the mediator be able to advise if this is about right or not?

The thing that I realise is already going to be difficult for my huband is that he earns 4 times my salary. Therefore he is going to end up paying quite some amount out, and has already said that its his money and he earns it etc etc... However he has backtracked and said that it was just a shock and of course he wants us both to have enough to live and neither of us should be better off than the other! Not sure if that is how it should work or not!

Any more advice on this would be greatly appreciated. We will be separated for 2 years before we can consider divorce so not sure how all these agreements will work out. Still very confused about it all.:huh:

Thanks :)

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15 Apr 09 #107696 by dukey
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Hello

Depending on the mediator you have the first meeting maybe two will set out what assets income and needs you both have, once that is clear you can talk about how managable the agreement you have so far is, hopefully if it is fair to both and workable you can put it to paper as a seperation agreement or similar.

Once you have agreement on all matters and you have the nisi you can complete form D81 statement of imformation for consent to give financial disclosure, then use a solicitor to form the agreement as a written Consent Order, wiki have a consent order service £149 i used it, nice and quick with no problems.

When both the D81 and Consent Order are ready both go to court for a judge to look over, if the judge is happy the consent order is sealed and is legally binding once the nisi is made absolute.

Hopefully a few meetings with the mediator should help you both agree thus avoiding court and the huge costs and stress a court based outcome can bring.

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15 Apr 09 #107749 by Imediate
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It is difficult to know what else to add. It is not surprising if things get a little heated - I suspect you are both feeling a little frightened and rather vulnerable. However, a good (or even an average) mediator should be able to take the heat out of the situation.

Of course the situation is confusing - unless you have been through it before, it is not something you have been 'trained' for and you don't know what to expect.

If you can both be open minded, be prepared to compromise, listen to the other side, remember the other side is feeling as worried as you are, and not lose your temper you should do alright.

It's a lot to ask, but it can be done.

I wish you both the very best of luck.

  • Jordan995
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15 Apr 09 #107782 by Jordan995
Reply from Jordan995
How nice to see two people mature enough to do what's best for them and not line solicitors pockets. Thumbs up to you :)

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