Mediation what to expect(6 Posts)
So STBXH have our first mediation session soon with the local mediation service. It is to discuss the finances and children. Although we are amicable we cannot talk about separating the money without it getting heated:
Therefore is there anything I need to do I terms of preparation? Any hints anyone can give me. I dreading it to be honest and scared that I might get upset. STBxh had an affair and now lives with OW.
The first meeting is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This gives you an opportunity to find out what mediation is about, find out if it is suitable for you and your circumstances and look at the issues you have to consider to achieve divorce or separation before taking part in full mediation.
It would be a good idea for you to make a schedule of the marital assets and liabilities, and other financial information (most mediators request that you do this anyway).
Have you made a parenting plan in respect of the child arrangements? Wikivorce has a free parenting plan that helps you set out what you think would be the best arrangements for the children, covering not just the usual day-to-day stuff, but holidays, birthdays, other special days, school meetings, medical appointments etc.
Try to treat this as a business meeting, mediation will be far more constructive and easier if you can (you could post on here after the mediation about how feel about your ex but try to keep the emotions out of the mediation sessions).
If you ahve a look at the National Family Mediation website, there is stacks if information about the mediation process and what to expect. It may help.
Once you have a list of ALL assets, absolutely all, you might want to have a friend who is good and maths and lateral thinking help you with the figures and has a bit of knowledge about how you can split things up. That way with a bit of outside help, you can take a bit of emotion out of it. I had a friend who started me off along this path, by simply drawing up a balance sheet of income and outgoing for me and other party for the maintenance side and also the inventory of assets for division. It's important to know likely costs and income of both parties, as this will have an impact of the 50/50 starting point for division of assets.
For myself, keeping the family home was my main aim. I could not see any greater importance than to save a family home (the other party wanted a 55% division in his favour to buy himself a bigger house). I could only achieve keeping the family home by letting go of life insurance policies, a car (which had already been removed from family use for 2 years without permission), children's savings. I was left with the house and an amount in cash to the other party and the other party with the rest basically. Spent months drawing up possible scenarios for division in order to save the home.
The hardest part in division of assets (apart from the other party demanding 55/45 in his favour and refusing the 40/60 offered which led to that person taking me to a 2 year long court action to try get more, failing and resulting in 37/63 division in my and children's favour, more than offered!), was the emotional letting go of some of the children's savings. It was heart breaking for me, a substantial proportion of which was saved from my own childhood by my father and that hurt more than anything else. It really really hurt. I'd proposed to avoid it. The judge made be feel better by saying to the other party as he had chosen his path of leaving us all, he was responsible for the pain the children were suffering, including the pain of of losing the children's money, saying that a family is stronger when all members share the suffering, ie in the end the children will learn from their adversity and it would be up to them to see this as a positive or a negative. I had a very very wise judge and I'll try to pass on the judge's wisdom to the children as they grow up, to see what their father did to them to take their savings is a source of strength and that it's in the end only money and I've vowed to save the lost savings for them, once I can pay off the debts left!
I hope you'll come to a point where you can remove emotion from the assets and you'll see it as a strength that you've shared them and what is lost can be replaced as its material.
Thank you Wab and Life. That is really helpful. I didn't realise that the first meeting was really an admin meeting - at nearly £200! However we do need to move forward so anything will be useful,
My only objective is to keep the family home and get the very small mortgage paid off. I have the kids 90% of the time (his choice) so I feel that is reasonable. I do everything for them ie ferrying them around etc etc. In theory it should be OK as unfortunately and sadly for him he has recently received a very large inheritance. Although I do not want his inheritance he does now have enough to buy a very large house without a mortgage end have plenty left. So I think that has made it slightly easier (or should be if he is reasonable and thinks of the kids) for us.
It is all stressful and something I never thought I would be doing. However I'm sure once this is over I will feel happier and in control of my life and finances.
If either of you has a pension, that can be quite a financially large asset if it's been going several years. They get CETV values. I'd ask for CETV values on yours now which might enable you to get any value of his. Selling or buying part of someone else's pension - it's officially called "pension sharing" I think, is a way of closing any gap you might need to achieve a percentage settlement you have agreed upon. Your ideal of course is to get 50% of the shared value of pensions, but if you have to give up a few percentage points to save a house, then so be it!
£200 for an hour meeting shared is actually peanuts compared to the cost of 2 lawyers in an always adversarial situation.
I cannot share my experience of an official initial mediation session as my husband took me to court for 2 years before agreeing to mediation when he kept losing - as I'm not in the UK, obligatory mediation exempted. By the time mediation happened, it was actually by email alone and was all about money and nothing else. By that time, emotions were much lower and I didn't have to be in the same room or even look at him. I'd expect much of an initial session however to be explaining how mediation should work and how a mediator is there to ensure the best for children unlike lawyers who work solely for adult parents to get the best finances for them at the expense of children often. If you pop up with the finances already set out, it will speed things along hopefully and take out the emotions a bit more.
Thank you Life. That is really helpful. I have a public sector pension which has been part time for the last 13 years but is still probably worth a lot so is worth thinking about if it means I get to keep the house.
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