Here at FMNI, we make a point of giving you the forms you need to complete as early as possible in the process so that you begin the tiresome process of information gathering and come back into the process with all your disclosure ready. You have much work to do and this can be difficult as the practical stuff is entwined with the heightened emotions experienced. However, we will encourage you to speak with your solicitor, so that they can be supportive and offer a legal perspective. Both of you are required to establish the value of your home, the mortgage, any savings, pensions, debts: in short, we help you establish a clear picture of your finances for yourselves and for anyone advising you. This is an essential first step to sorting out any financial agreement and can actually help you cope as you are actually doing something tangible! Your mediator will have tested and assessed you both and your case for suitability for this service. Mediators are happy to discuss this process with you.
In your second or third joint sessions we can help you negotiate a settlement. We look at the equity in the house, division of savings, allocation of debt, and provision of retirement income through pensions. We also look at your income and outgoings and help you work out your budgets in your separate households, which enables us to help you set an appropriate level of maintenance and child support. We then write up all your figures in an open financial statement and your agreement in a Mediated Agreement. You are recommended to take both of these documents to your solicitors, who will take this forward through the legal process. This will be put before a judge so that it can be made legally binding if that is your wish.
If you require, your solicitor will then be able to finalise your divorce with a decree absolute. As you can see, mediation is a useful procedure both for children and for finance, and can be educative, empowering and even healing at this difficult time. However, solicitors play an important part in the process too, particularly if you are married and seeking a divorce. So, mediators and solicitors together help separating couples sort out the many varied problems inevitably arising and to reach an agreement. This way, families are empowered to move on and start to pick up the pieces of their lives as fast and cost-effectively as possible in the knowledge that the needs of their children were paramount.
Finance only mediation is not a funded service and you will be charged. Please contact the office for more information on the cost of this service.
Are you Mediation Ready?
We do acknowledge that for many people coming to FMNI, the time may not be right to begin mediation. This can be for many reasons too many to list here, but as an example, you may be hurting too much or are feeling too angry and upset, it is too early after the split and clearly ‘end of relationship’ counselling is the best option for now. Here in NI, we have an extensive range of quality counselling services that you may access before you come back to us. Please check the Family Support NI website for Counselling services and Parenting Programmes near you . We can then help to prepare you for what is a difficult process, mediation is not easy and we appreciate that this is a very hard thing for you to do and remember, you get out of it what you put into it. It can be very frustrating for one partner who may be ‘ready’ when the other partner is not. Please be patient as you are always welcome back to us to try again when the time is right for both, however, we never wish to be involved in creating any delay in a child seeing a parent, so for some at an early stage the court process may be the only option. Participating in mediation is a brave and challenging task but the rewards are enormous , particularly for your children and your own well-being.
It depends on you working hard to generate options, it depends on both parents compromising to benefit their child, you may learn new ways of communicating, perhaps new negotiating skills that you may use into the future when you ‘hit a bump in the road’. We are very conscious that your child’s needs will change as they grow and separated parents can be challenged, baffled and upset by some changes just the same as those parenting together! But working together we can minimise your anxiety and help you move on to be the parents your child wants you to be post separation.