Family mediation is here to stay. But how does it work? What actually happens? How can you make sure the settlements reached are fair, and what do couples who mediate have to do? The purpose of this 12-part series is to attempt to answer those questions specifically – at least as it applies for those who choose New Landscape Mediation to help them create their solutions. Whether we are working with clients from our main offices near Stansted airport in Essex, our offices in central London, or in Cambridge, this series of blogs will better help you to understand how we go about saving our clients up to £20,000 each over a more traditional, solicitor led settlement solution.
Here in part 7 of this series, I will describe the reasons for Financial Disclosure.
Once upon a time in divorce, it was possible for a divorcing partner to blatantly lie about how much money he or she had either in savings or investments. Whilst the court still regularly discovers (and punishes) people who underestimate their worth in an effort to stop their former partner being awarded any of it, this is ever more difficult to get away with. In the process of disclosure, both parties clearly state, or “disclose” all of their assets and liabilities. It is only when you are both fully aware of the complete financial situation can a settlement solution be created. Where one party is operating “in the dark” as to the truth of the finances, then clearly it impossible to fairly discuss and create a settlement. Where this lack of information is due to the other party lying about finances, are risking significant legal penalty.
In mediation, the process of disclosure is just as rigorous as disclosure through solicitors, but there big differences in how the information is gathered and explored between the parties. In mediation, it is done together, directly with your mediator rather than via the lawyers with the usual plethora of letters back and forth (and the fee associated with each one!). In most cases New Landscape Mediation’s clients complete disclosure in a single, two hour meeting (assuming you are willing to do your own photocopying instead of paying someone to do it for you). Compare this to the average time minimum of 3 months for disclosure to be completed with solicitors, and you can begin to see why the cost of mediation is so much lower and things happen so much more quickly. Please feel free to download our abridged Form E (the main template used for disclosure) from our Resources page.
The next blog in this series will describe the process of disclosure in a bit more detail. If you would like more information about any aspect of this series, please contact our offices on 01279 211 657 or send us an email for a fully confidential discussion of your needs.