Why consider Mediation?
Many people think that a certain type of person goes to mediation and that their case is too complex or they might end up with a lesser amount. However, mediation is suitable for most people and can be an accurate reflection of what a finding would be in court.
Ms L from Oxfordshire was a recent mediation client and has written to me about her experience following the breakdown of the mediation. She has kindly agreed for us to share her experience;
"I had been meaning to write to you to let you know how the FDR went and what happened to us subsequent to our meetings. The interesting point is that at the FDR, Judge Paul Coleridge awarded me almost exactly what had been proposed in our sessions: £2.24m and a half share in the value of my husband's pension. I included my Trust in my assets and my husband was not able to ring fence any of his pre-cohabitation assets or pension.
The bad news is that the cost of going to FDR and the resulting quibbles about wording and logistics meant that we ended up spending, quite frankly, an obscene amount of money on the whole process (£250,000 between us). I tell you this just for you to use the information to warn others about going down the "trusting your solicitor to get you the best deal route"! It was ridiculous as we knew our case wasn't even complicated by some standards (no custody of children, no ongoing maintenance, no hidden assets etc).
Anyway, it is finally over and I'm just waiting for the pension share to be worked out and then can finally close that chapter. There is no celebration at the end of a marriage, but the legal procedure for working out the financial settlement makes the whole process so much more painful and acrimonious. I would welcome a change in the law to give couples more chance to share legal advice and be encouraged to talk to each other, instead of being led by their own (naturally biased) solicitors.
I just wanted to thank you again for your support and help, and for you to know that your suggestions and guidance were spot on, so well done!"
Whilst this mediation took place between the First Appointment and the FDR, that is by no means unique and it is also not unusual for the court to make a finding which is very similar to the proposal reached in mediation. This is because the compromise position is normally the fairest outcome and can be reached by clients if they are left to their own devices in mediation.