Financial issues in family mediation
Working out your family’s financial future in mediation involves much the same process as doing it yourselves, through solicitor representation, collaborative law or the courts, but it can be more cost effective, quicker and the outcomes longer lasting.
Essentially in order to make good financial decisions you need to know what you have (assets, including pensions), what you owe (liabilities), what you earn (income) and what you need. Only when you have all this information can you look at ways of maximizing your incomes and looking realistically at how you can meet the needs of everyone involved into the future. If you are in a legal relationship (marriage or civil partnership) and want to formalise your arrangements in a consent order the court will look at the financial information underpinning your proposals to make sure that they make sense in meeting needs.
The difference in mediation is that you retain control of the pace and decision making. You sit together so you can ask questions and clarify things as you go along quickly and before they become bigger issues. Your mediator will help you by identifying where you have information gaps, where additional resources might be available, how to go about getting relevant independent advice and making sure that your proposals make sense within the legal framework that will apply. Because you are doing it yourselves with mediator support you can talk about circumstances particular to your family and be creative about how to resolve any issues arising. In just a few meetings you can move from not knowing what to do for the best to having a plan for a financially secure future. If you are a parent you are likely, alongside this, to be negotiating a new parenting relationship and making workable arrangements for you to continue to co-parent and spend time with your children.
The more you move away from doing it yourself with or without mediation towards contested court proceedings, the less you will be able to deal with finances and children together (they are not considered or dealt with together in court), the more expensive and stressful it will become and the less your voice will be heard in the proceedings.
Mediation offers a place for parents to sit together and talk about their finances and parenting, including child support and to think through what will work best in any particular circumstance.
National Family Mediation (NFM) is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family.
National Family Mediation (NFM) services charge £25-£100 for a MIAM, depending on geographical locality, which may include the fee for the completed FM1 form. Meetings usually last for 45 minutes – 1 hour. This includes the means assessment to check whether you will be eligible for Legal Aid, determining whether your mediation will be free or not. Mediation sessions which follow the initial MIAM are charged at a sliding scale according to income, but start at around £80 per session, and usually last up to 1½ hours.
If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area,
All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.