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In the second of her two-part blog series on the cost of mediation (and following the first part which looked at who pays for mediation) Gemma Hope looks at how couples can save money during mediation.
Compared to other process options, such as court, mediation can be a very cost-effective way of resolving issues that arise when couples separate or divorce but costs will still be incurred. So, what can you do to try and help save costs within the mediation process?
Here are 3 tips to help you:
Mediation is not a soft option; it can be tough. Preparation is therefore key. Emotions may well be running high. Often communication between the separating couple has broken down. Preparatory sessions with a family consultant prior to embarking on mediation can help with this.
We have a fully embedded family consultant within our mediation team. Kim Crewe, our Director of Client Wellbeing, works alongside our mediators to support clients before entering into, and during, family mediation.
A family consultant can help a couple prepare for the mediation process. The family consultant will support the couple to manage their emotions and improve their communication skills. This helps reduce misunderstandings and ensures the mediation process runs as smoothly as possible.
If you are using mediation to work out financial matters you and the partner you are separating from will need to provide full financial disclosure. Basically, disclosure is the process of taking an inventory of the separating couple’s entire pot of assets, liabilities income and outgoings. The reason the disclosure is required is to ensure a fair and appropriate financial outcome can be reached.
Your mediator will explain what information needs to be provided. Being open, honest and upfront with your financial information can save time and costs. Turning up to a mediation session with missing financial information can delay the process and result in sessions being ineffective which adds to costs.
Ensuring that the financial information is presented in a clear and organised way can also help save you time and costs. If less time is needed to get the financial information in order during mediation it means more time is available to focus on the issues that need to be worked out.
The financial disclosure process can seem like a laborious and daunting task but it is essential. If you are really struggling to deal with this then the costs of instructing a financial coach and or a lawyer to help you are likely to be worth it and save you costs in the long run.
Getting legal advice, from a specialist family lawyer that is a member of Resolution, alongside the mediation process can help save costs overall. A lawyer can help ensure your expectations are realistic and give you independent legal advice to assist you with your discussions and decision making within mediation.
Whilst instructing additional professionals alongside a mediator may seem as though it will add to your costs ultimately in the long run they can help save time, stress and costs by enabling mediation to be more effective so solutions can be reached and expensive court proceedings avoided.
Some other more general money saving tips to help save costs within mediation include:
For more information on our mediation services and guidance, please refer to our blog which covers different topics about mediation.
If you would like to find out more or arrange mediation with one of our specialist family law mediators or instruct one of our expert family law lawyers to support you within the mediation process please contact us.
Gemma Hope is a Director, Specialist Family Law Solicitor, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer in our Brighton team.