Divorce - Fast, affordable divorce settlements with family law mediators to help you both understand your options
Divorce – Legal Process
There is one ground for divorce – that of “Irretrievable Breakdown.”
This is proved by one of five facts:
Two years’ separation (divorcing with mutual consent)
Five years’ separation (consent of the other partner is not necessary)
Adultery and unreasonable behaviour are the only ‘facts’ that will enable you to have a quick divorce. The adultery or behaviour must not have 'expired'. Expiry happens if you live together for six months or more following finding out about the adultery or the last incident of unreasonable behaviour, as then you are taken to have forgiven it. The other two key grounds are two years separation with consent and five years without consent. The last ground is desertion which is rarely used. In reality anyone who has been married and wants a divorce will get one sooner or later. There’s little point in avoiding divorce if you cannot save the marriage.
Some people do their own divorces. Normally, your divorce stops at the Decree Nisi stage and only proceeds to a final divorce after your financial settlement has been made binding. This preserves inheritance rights and helps avoid post death claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act. If you want to sort out your own divorce, both coming to see a mediator can be invaluable, as we can provide you with good, up-to-date legal information and suggest options to you that you may not have considered. We help you make decisions together amicably.
Divorcing? Separating? Why lawyer mediators can really help you
When you need a divorce settlement, it helps enormously if your mediator can give you plenty of legal information, so you understand the legal frame-work your settlement has to fit into. A divorce settlement has to be approved by the court to be binding – and judges don’t just rubber-stamp agreements. For example – if there’s a final salary pension it can be the most valuable asset. Your Focus mediator can help you understand whether you can share that pension (internal transfer) or whether it is an external transfer to another money purchase scheme and if so what better options may be. We help you with the right expert – be it a pensions actuary or an accountant valuing a business or working out your Capital Gains Tax. When your options are complex, we will ensure you have the right mediator and if needed neutral expert, to help you. We will ensure you do understand the options and will help you evaluate them. This results in better decision-making than if you are fighting at court, when you can lose sight of what’s important, to say nothing of saving tens of thousands of pounds in costs and the years it takes to sort things out via the legal route.
Read the report of the National Audit Office into family mediation – which explains all this in more detail.
Defended Divorces and Cross Petitions
We are experianced at mediating defended divorces and cross petitions - so give us a call, we can help.
Both of you usually feel you cannot back down, but blame the other. Such proceedings cost many thousands of pounds.
You’d get more fun burning money on a bonfire than engaging in defended divorce. Judges completely freak out when they have to deal with them and Very few such cases ever go to trial and this is because you are nearly always forced to settle them.
The lawyers usually get a drubbing too and the couple are made to feel complete idiots and are really told off by the judge.
Mediation for divorce the best way to agree your financial settlement
Mary Banham-Hall, Lead Mediator, Founder and Managing Director of Focus Mediation says:-
“We have mediated literally thousands of financial settlements – some of them very complicated, with businesses, companies, trusts, property portfolios, tax issues and pensions worth millions. I personally once mediated a settlement where I came up with a perfectly sensible and (importantly) legal arrangement that saved a couple over £150,000 in tax. I can assure you from my thirty years experience in Family Law, the chances of that scheme even coming to light, let alone coming to fruition in a conventional adversarial divorce negotiation or worse still - court, proceedings, are minimal. The mediators focus is wholly different – it’s “How can we make the best of this?” There’s a mistaken idea that couples need lawyers to “get the best deal” and that they’ll lose out in some way if they don’t fight it out. However, in many cases the costs of arguing over that 10% or 20% of family capital exceeds what you are arguing about and you lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s mad – and it’s a misplaced fear that drives people. So often when a couple sorts everything out in mediation they really regret not coming sooner – right at the beginning is best. You should mediate first and only go to court as a last resort. ”