Arranging Family Mediation for Property When Couples Separate

Conceptual image – division of property at divorce

Mediation is all about coming to a resolution. When couples separate, they often find themselves in disagreement over who remains in the property they once shared, how they will continue to share the costs for running the property, or what price the property should be sold for. Although financial mediation is, in many cases, a cheaper and quicker alternative to a court proceeding, it doesn’t work for everyone. As such, here are a few pointers to help you consider whether this option would be viable.

What should you expect from a mediator?
While mediation isn’t a counselling session for you to talk about your emotions in the relationship, it’s a means of talking to your ex-partner about how best to split your assets. Meanwhile, a neutral mediator is present to structure and moderate the conversation in a safe, confidential space. Depending on how complex your financial situation is, two to four mediation sessions is all it takes.

Who can use mediation?
Whether you are married or not, or share children with your ex-partner or not, financial mediation is for anyone struggling to reach a settlement for joint-owned property.

How will property and finances be settled?
Unlike a court proceeding, you get the opportunity to discuss your financial information and family arrangements openly at mediation. To help your case along, you should provide your mediator with the following details:
– Bank and/or savings account, ISA and Premium Bonds
– Payslips
– Recent financial accounts for your business (if applicable)
– Valuation of any properties and assets
– Pension valuation – Cash Equivalent Transfer Value
– Recent mortgage statement
– Surrender values for any endowment policies
– Details of any loans and/or debts owed
– Details of any other income

Also, you should carefully consider the following issues regarding your family home and family arrangements if you have children:
– Who should live in the family home?
– If you own your home, should it be sold? And when or how should the money be divided?
– If you rent your home, should the tenancy be changed or transferred?
– How will you both take care of the children when you live apart?
– How much will you both contribute to child maintenance?

Once you come to an agreement, you and your partner will need to document your decisions into a clearly written document. With the help of a solicitor, this agreement can be made binding and enforceable in court.

Bottom line

Financial mediation doesn’t provide a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution for all separated couples, but this option certainly bypasses litigation, and, therefore, reduces conflict and expenses. The key value of this service is that your mediator will help you establish a clear and reasonable settlement so that both you and your ex-partner can move on with your lives.