Once you have decided to end your relationship, it is important to get organized. As daunting as this may seem initially, it will actually help you feel more secure emotionally and financially.
- Make an appointment for an information session at your local Family Mediation service. When you attend this initial meeting, called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), a mediator will provide you with a private and supportive setting to talk through all the issues surrounding your divorce or separation and give you information about the options that you might have. They will also explain the process of mediation and discuss with you how it might benefit you in your individual circumstances. See About Family Mediation. This will give you a chance to consider the options open to you for resolving your dispute.
- The cost of divorce can be staggering. Litigated divorces may take years and cost thousands of pounds. Do your research about the cost of legal advice, litigation and the court process. Family Mediation is by far the most cost-effective and timely method in which to sort out all the issues surrounding your separation.
- Open your own account at a bank, credit union or community bank.
- If you are renting your home, find out whether your name is on the lease. It is important to know this information as it will come in handy during any financial disclosure which takes place during the separation. The same applied for utilities and phone bills.
- List all personal and joint assets as well as personal and joint debts and the values of these.
- Consider your financial situation and draw up a budget. A financial advisor can assist you with this.
- You may need to amend your will.
- Write down the date of your separation, date of marriage / start of the relationship as well as the date you started living together (if applicable) in your diary or notebook
- Organise to have a separate mobile phone account if you are on your partner’s account, especially where you do not have a work contact number.
- If you are not working and you are physically able to do so, then you need to start making plans for your future. Consider whether you need to go back to studying, seek employment or start you own business.
- Make a list of everything in the house, including furniture, vehicles and personal items.
Get hold of the originals and copies of the following documentation:
- Birth certificate
- Citizenship papers (if applicable)
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
- Drivers licence
- National Insurance details
- NHS details
- Bank books, ATM and credit cards
- Bank statements (most recent 3 months)
- Last tax return and notice of assessment
- Titles of ownership and property deeds
- Pension Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV)
- Partnership and company deeds (if applicable)
- Details of joint and personal debts
- Loan agreements
- Car registration, engine number, vehicle identification number and current value
- Mortgage and property details (e.g. council rates)
- Rental agreement
- Insurance policies (e.g. home, contents, car, and superannuation details)
- Any of the above documents that may apply to your children
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 amily mediation provider in your area.
All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.