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How to have a civilised divorce

rings Sorting out the finances on divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience. And what is more, once the Consent Order, which records the financial agreement between you, is sealed by the Court there is no going back if you are unhappy with the outcome.

You only get one bite at the cherry and so, if you want to avoid a bitter aftertaste, it is vital that you resolve the finances in a way that will leave you feeling, if not pleased, then at least satisfied that the division of assets has been done in an equitable manner.

There are various ways of negotiating the financial settlement on divorce and one of the newest is Lawyer Supported Mediation.

The Government has, in recent years, been increasingly keen to push divorcing couples towards mediation in an attempt to keep separating couples out of Court and thus reduce the burden on what is an overloaded system. And, because it is relatively inexpensive, it seems like a cost effective solution, especially now that legal aid is available in so few cases.

Mediation is not counselling and it is not designed to help couples stay together. It is a process by which a separating couple has a series of meetings with a mediator, who is an individual trained to facilitate an agreement between them.

However, while mediation can be very successful with the right couple, it can lack teeth. The Memorandum of Understanding that a mediator draws up if an agreement is reached is not legally binding and, as the mediator cannot give advice, individuals can feel unsupported and unsure whether the agreement they are making is reasonable.

The idea behind Lawyer Supported Mediation is that, for a fixed fee, divorcing couples can have access to a solicitor to deal with the legal documents and provide legal advice whilst also attending mediation to negotiate a settlement.

For those whose finances are not unduly complex and who want to keep their costs down it can be a really good solution, which is why we at Belmont & Lowe are part of a pilot scheme of central London law firms taking part in this scheme.

For more information please contact us on 020 7608 4600.

By Angharad Lynn, 5th November 2014.