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Conflicting advice re mediation, fees and solicitors where to start?

(5 Posts)
LewisAH16 Wed 12-Oct-16 12:49:54

Been thrown into this as am sure many of you have. Husband is out after a prolonged sexting and possible physical affair. He is stiill in denial while I'm left trying to sort his sh*t out. Two kids and we own the house together. Have arranged mediation MIAM as I really want to get financial and child arrangement in place. CAB said i may be eligible for legal aid (i work part time) but when i rang a local solicitor they said legal aid only exists for DV or child safety cases. Does anyone know if that is true and if so of any solicitors who are reaonable, give initial free meeting and nearby (BR3 Bromley/Penge). Am scared that i will be fair prey to any official body (Mediation already costing £144 for MIAM when CAB said approx £30). I may be in a 'good position' in terms of the final position I'll be in (as friends keep saying) but I don't want to take that chance when i don't know if my ex will continue to be reasonable wheb he realise a) i can't afford this to be drawn out in legal fees b) he controls the main finances. I don't understand child maintenance vs spousal maintenance despite websites and how much he will be legally liable for or will depend on his 'generosity'. He is going to start looking for a flat to rent and then it will hit how skint he will be and could turn v difficult. Any advice welcome. I'm so confused by lots of different bodies and sources of advice that conflict and this has all happened in the last week so am overwhelmed with what is priority, what needs sorting out and dealing with the children who are beginning to realise this is not a short term problem.

Afterthestorm Wed 12-Oct-16 16:02:34

Go on the gov.uk website and search for "can you get legal aid", there is a section on it. I think Cab may have been saying you can get legal aid for mediation, which is usually correct in divorce but the solicitor thought you meant can you get legal aid to pay their bills, which is now not the case other than in other certain circumstances such as domestic abuse.

There is a really good document to look at which is often linked to on here. Go to www.familylaw.co.uk and it should bring it up, it should tell you all you need to know. You can do a lot of the form filling yourself which has saved me a fortune, just use the solicitor for checking them and advice.

LewisAH16 Wed 12-Oct-16 16:34:35

Hi afterthestorm. Thank you for that, I will take a look. Just scared I will agree something now and do myself and the children out of what we are due.

MrsBertBibby Wed 12-Oct-16 18:54:25

Don't be scared of agreeing things at mediation.

Mediation will take several sessions, first to cover financial disclosure, and then term of settlement. If you reach agreement, you then should take advice (the mediator prepares a document setting everything out for the lawyers) and if your solicitor says it's a bad deal, you can back away from it and renegotiate.

The best way is to see the solicitor before mediation, because then you can negotiate with greater confidence. And then after. I have plenty of clients coming for advice during the mediation too, which obviously increases the cost, but I think also increases the chance of mediation working.

As to maintenance, in most cases, all you get is CSA/CMS maintenance, your ex would need to be on a pretty hefty salary to be likely to be able to pay spousal on top. But a nominal spousal maintenance order (ie a fiver a year) is usually appropriate to protect your position unless your kids are nearing adulthood.

Mediation is indeed still available for family mediation (means tested of course). But not for most legal work.

LewisAH16 Fri 14-Oct-16 03:45:35

Hi MRS BB, Thank you for your reassurance. I have a meet with a solicitor next week and i think you're right going armed with knowledge will make me feel better. I have read a bit more online and think the mediation agreement can also act like an interim before actual divorce so assume details can be changed along the way. Re settlement I would like to think i could secure our (children and i) share of husband's future success as i have put my career on hold while he persued his and is in the middle of another step up the ladder. Is this possible do you think? I'm concerned any settlement will end when the kids are of age and I'll be left bitter (at his ongoing success and my comparable struggle).

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