by Sally Clarke, Family Mediators Association board Secretary
Checklist following separation – steps to take when you need to work out a financial settlement.
1. Arrange an appointment with a family mediator for a MIAMS appointment.
This is an initial appointment to discuss options with a family mediator following separation.
You may then need to deal with the following:-
- How to achieve a physical separation – who will remain in the property pending a financial settlement being reached;
- What contributions do you each need to make towards the mortgage; bills and payments towards any children;
- If you have pension provision then contact your pension company and request the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value for your scheme. Some providers take weeks to release that information so it is better to make an early request;
- Start collating bank statements, details of any assets, income and liabilities and anything else which is relevant to your situation;
- If you have properties / businesses then these will need to be valued;
- It may be that you need a financial contribution from the other party, or if you are the main earner it may be that one will be sought from you;
- If the family home is not in your name you may wish to register a Homes Rights Notice against the property to protect your interest the property until a settlement is reached;
- If the family home is owned by the two of you as Joint Tenants then you may wish to consider severing the tenancy to protect your 50% interest on death.
2. On the basis that you and the other party each attend an assessment appointment and are willing to mediate and the mediator assesses your situation to be suitable then you will be invited to attend a joint session.
Your family mediator will provide with you a list of documentation that yourself and the other party need to collate. Such documentation is then exchanged so that you each have a clear picture of your financial circumstances.
3. The role of the mediator is to ensure that you are happy with the disclosure which has been provided, ensure that you are happy with any valuations which have been carried out and to help you discuss settlement options.
After the first joint mediation session you may choose to take legal advice from a family solicitor who can provide you with specific advice as to your situation.
4. Providing that an agreement has been reached then you can steps to have this document made legally binding through the Family Court. Your family mediator will explain how to do this.