Have you considered mediation in order to try to save on legal costs?

If you and your spouse/partner are keen to resolve matters fairly and out of court and if there is a mutual trust between you, and you will each be transparent and open about your financial circumstances, then mediation could be appropriate for you.

I recently had three sessions with one couple and we have almost come to a set of proposed terms for an overall settlement.  We have one more session booked which will be utilised to try to sort out any loose ends and to recap on the proposed terms.  Our first session involved discussing the divorce procedure and arrangements for the children, the second session dealt with financial disclosure and our third session was spent dealing with disclosure issues and exploring options for resolving matters.

Both parties will then go back to their respective solicitors to formalise and draw up the consent order, assuming their solicitors are content with the proposed terms put forward.  The parties have been updating their solicitors as we have had each mediation session, forwarding my notes to them so that the solicitors have been fully aware of the discussions in mediation.  Each session has lasted 1.5-2 hours and so the mediation process for them has been much more cost-effective, with my costs for doing the ‘donkey work’ being divided equally between them and then with each paying for their solicitors’ advice in the background and to deal with formalising the paperwork.

Mediation meetings at Alexiou Fisher Philipps are set up with your spouse/partner with a highly experienced solicitor specialising in family law who is aware of the types of orders that the court will make in your situation and who will therefore help you to achieve a fair outcome without all the delays and high costs involved with contested court applications.  If necessary you can each be in separate rooms with the mediator shuttling between you, but more often than not, the mediation sessions take place with you both sitting with the mediator so that all solutions can be explored together.

Proper financial disclosure takes place by way of exchange of Forms E in the usual way with other experts, such as pension experts, being involved, where appropriate but generally, more headway can be made in a mediation meeting than in solicitor correspondence which often takes some time to be exchanged.  Mediation is also very helpful for sorting out arrangements for children and communicating where children are concerned.

Mediation is not appropriate for everyone but it can be a useful way to sort out one issue, and often the children arrangements if not all issues. If you have not given it any thought before now, you should.  It may be a process which may work well for you and your spouse/partner.