1. Arrange an appointment with a family mediator for a MIAMS appointment. https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator/ This is an initial appointment to discuss options with a family mediator following separation.You may then need to deal with the following:-
- How to achieve a physical separation – who will remain in the property pending a financial settlement being reached;
- What contributions do you each need to make towards the mortgage; bills and payments towards any children;
- If you have pension provision then contact your pension company and request the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value for your scheme. Some providers take weeks to release that information so it is better to make an early request;
- Start collating bank statements, details of any assets, income and liabilities and anything else which is relevant to your situation;
- If you have properties / businesses then these will need to be valued;
- It may be that you need a financial contribution from the other party, or if you are the main earner it may be that one will be sought from you;
- If the family home is not in your name you may wish to register a Homes Rights Notice against the property to protect your interest the property until a settlement is reached;
- If the family home is owned by the two of you as Joint Tenants then you may wish to consider severing the tenancy to protect your 50% interest on death.
2. On the basis that you and the other party each attend an assessment appointment and are willing to mediate and the mediator assesses your situation to be suitable then you will be invited to attend a joint session.
Your family mediator will provide with you a list of documentation that yourself and the other party need to collate. Such documentation is then exchanged so that you each have a clear picture of your financial circumstances.
3. The role of the mediator is to ensure that you are happy with the disclosure which has been provided, ensure that you are happy with any valuations which have been carried out and to help you discuss settlement options.
After the first joint mediation session it is a very good idea to take legal advice from a family solicitor who can provide you with specific advice as to your situation. A family mediator is impartial and whilst mediators can give information as to options available it is not the role of the mediator to provide specific advice. That is the role of a family solicitor.
4. If you have productive discussions and reach an agreement in principle then the next step is to make that legal. What this involves is the preparation of a document called a consent order which once signed by both parties is filed at Court for the approval by a family Judge. At that stage your agreement becomes legally binding.
Separation is a very stressful time and it is important that you access the right support through experienced professionals to guide you and support you through to your new life.
We can assist as family mediators or family lawyers to assist as part of the family mediation process. For more information please contact us on 01423 637272 or 01274 861096.