Following the breakdown of Joe and Sally’s* marriage, they have decided to attend Mediation with a view to resolving issues relating to their children and finances. They have completed their mediation information forms and read the Agreement to Mediate and the first session has begun.
The mediators have introduced themselves and welcomed Sally and Joe to the mediation. They have explained that the mediation will be conducted according to Sally and Joe’s agenda and that the mediators’ role is to help their discussions in a calm and non-confrontational way. They explain that they are neutral and non-judgmental and unable to provide individual legal advice, but that from time to time during the process they might wish to check in with their own solicitors. Joe and Sally are asked to give an outline of the reasons they have chosen mediation and what they hope to achieve. The Agreement to Mediate is explained and signed by all present.
When asked if there are any urgent matters for today, Sally raises her concern that she and the children are finding it very difficult living under the same roof as Joe, and wondered if he could find temporary accommodation until matters are resolved. Joe finds this a difficult idea as he says that he is a co-owner of the house and has every right to live there. Following further discussion, Joe agrees to move to his brother’s spare room as he accepts Sally’s view that the breakdown of the marriage is having a disturbing effect on their son James. However, he was keen to resolve matters quickly as he is unable to stay with his brother too long.
The mediators hand out the Financial Disclosure forms and explain that this is so that Sally and Joe can set out details of (and provide copy documentation in support of) their property, including the value and amount due on the mortgage, their bank and savings accounts, any policies or other assets, pensions, debts, income and current expenditure. Joe questions why this is necessary and the mediators explain that Joe and Sally will not be able to make decisions about their future finances if they are not aware of all the facts. They also impress upon them the need to provide full and frank disclosure to avoid any settlement being set aside in the future because undisclosed matters subsequently come to light. They agree that they will need a few weeks to gather this information together and a date is set for the second mediation session.
Continues next week in Part 3…..
Anne-Lise Wall is an experienced, accredited mediator based in the Teddington office but can undertake mediations in any of Morrisons’ offices to suit the client’s needs. If one partner or spouse lives abroad, or lives too far away to travel, Anne-Lise can conduct mediations via SKYPE. For more information about our Mediation Service call Anne-Lise on 0208 614 4570 or email her on [email protected].
* Fictional characters