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Financial agreement on divorce: mediation, collaborative law(9 Posts)
I'm about to file for divorce from my H. My solicitor has suggested that we consider mediation or collaborative law but hasn't been clear about how these processes differ from each other or from using her to draw up our financial agreement and she hasn't made any mention of what the difference in cost might be. Is there anyone out there who has been through these processes and can advise? My solicitor charges £250 per hour plus VAT, so if mediation or collaborative law are a bit cheaper I'd be very happy to try them!
Mediation involves you and your ex seeing a trained family mediator for usually joint sessions. Costs vary wildly. Not all mediators are lawyers, though many are. Mediators are neutral, and cannot advise you. You can see your lawyer for advice between mediation sessions (you pay for that of course). If it works, it may be cheaper than solicitors as you pay for one pro between you. If it fails, money down the drain. Everything said in mediation is private. Any agreement is non binding until you take legal advice and confirm. You still need the lawyer to draw up the papers afterwards.
Collaborative law is very pricey. You both have your own collaboratively trained lawyer and everything is done in round table meetings. The idea is you all hold hands and work together constructively. If you give up and go to court, you have to get new lawyers. It's a nice idea but very very labour intensive for the lawyers.
It is pricey but you can spend an awful lot of money on standard mediation and if the other party, like my ex, does not deliver on anything that has been agreed, it is a complete waste of money. If you are mostly on the same page and both reasonable, I think you can potentially get a good and binding outcome quite quickly.
The collaborative process is more expensive than mediation, but you are both supported much more by the lawyers, and if you are both minded to buy in to the philosophy of the process it is incredibly effective. Well over 90% of cases settle without court intervention according to stats.
Thank you all for your help, that clarifies things for me.
You can also do what my ex and I did - take a bit of legal advice in background and then agree between ourseives the sum and then have the lawyers draw it up. That obviously doesn't involve a penny of mediation costs or court hearing costs.
What are you currently disagreeing on? Eg do you know the value of all the assets and liabilities, know what you each earn and what is likely to happen post divorce? if so you just need to agree things and get them drawn up in a court approved sealed consent order and that's that.
Thanks EnormousTiger. H and I had a long conversation yesterday, during which I said I wanted to separate, but after almost an entire day talking he's agreed to have counselling (I've realised he's a narcissist, with control issues, who has become increasingly EA over the years and the relationship has become impossible), so we're going to give the marriage one more try. I'm not sure how committed he'll be to the counselling, but I have to try for DS's sake. But if we do end up splitting, I'll be aiming for what you've suggested and H seemed on-board with controlling costs as much as possible (though he seems to think things can be done almost entirely without solicitors and was definitely veering towards the "I'll tell you what I want and you'll agree to it" point of view, and no way in hell is that happening!). There's a long road ahead, but I'm feeling stronger than I have done in years. Sorry, no one really needed to hear all that stuff!
That sounds worth a try.
We both had solicitors - I paid for both sides as I earn more - and it was useful for eacho f us to know the most and the least we'd win in court - huge spread, very very unclear and very unpredictable so better to settle often. In our case we 100% knew what the other earned and had as we had joint accounts and no secrets so there was no financial disclosure needed. That is not the case in all marriages so you need hearings to disclose financial information and that kind of thing.
I would make sure you know 100% what is in all accounts, what pensions you both have and what credits cards are in joint names in case there is a problem later. Some people do a post nup agreement after they've reconciled or had counselling which sets out a few fundamental terms financially between them - basically I will carry on with this marriage is 1. xYZ account put in joint names 2. no more adultery (if that's been the issue) + STD test, 3. you look after the children all day Sundays or whatever the issues might be.
I'm pretty sure I know all his financial information and I've shared all mine with him, and we don't have any accounts or cards in joint names. Thanks for the mention of post nup agreements. I'd never heard of them, but if we do manage to stay together that might be very useful in order to help prevent him "slipping" again. I'm still not 100% certain he'll actually come to the couples counselling as he has a habit of going back on promises and wriggling out of things, but we'll see!
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