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Mediation to resolve finances... although previously agreed. Advice... (4 Posts)
Started By:
21 December, 2016 06:53PM
Mediation to resolve finances... although previously agreed. Advice...
adviceseekers - 21 December, 2016 06:53PM
Hi All,

I have previously posted and got some good advice - and find the forum invaluable. Thank you from a serial lurker.

My soon to be ex wife and I are currently still living together whilst awaiting the house sale completing.
Divorce petition has been served on unreasonable behaviour grounds - and up until this last Monday I was under the impression we had agreed a financial settlement.

The settlement we had previously agreed in principle (her words) was:

* Sell House
* Pay off Mortgage/conveyancer/estate agent
* Pay off all debts
* Split balance 50:50

The wife had agreed to this following an initial consult with a solicitor - but with the proviso that as the lines of credit are all in my name only I would agree the debt would not exceed £xxxxx or if it did I would pay the extra without impacting her share of the remaining balance.

On Monday she went to see (I believe the same) solicitor again who is now suggesting mediation to "run through 6 months or a year's bank statements".

The wife has been a little vague on detail - but it seems the narrative she's going with is that as the debt / finances were all in my name only and she's never had "visibility" of the finances she is claiming to have had no idea how much debt we were in. Allegedly her solicitor has suggested mediation as a way to address that.
The house/mortgage was also all in my name - but she's more clear that she is entitled to half of that... she (on the advice of her solicitor and with my knowledge) logged a form at the land registry to prevent me selling the house without her consent. (see below on this also).

As she has some health concerns she'll get Legal Aid for mediation - not sure if that's a factor in going down this route.

So that's the background... now for the brain dump requesting advice:

* Should I agree to mediation?
The vast majority of our debt was incurred before this last 12 months - so going through 12 months of bank statements in forensic detail while she queries why I spent £55 in Sainsburys back in April doesn't entirely appeal...
As the main shopper/earner in the house hold there's some 4000+ transactions on my current account alone for the last 12 months. I'm guessing they'd also want to go through 12 months Credit card (x3) statements too...
I also gather that mediation itself can go on for months.
It just seems like a colossal waste of time with no clear objective... it would make more sense to me for her to be demanding an explanation of each loan / card balance rather than wanting to root through every grocery shop or £2 lunch purchase.

* House sale - on the basis of our 'agreement in principle' she withdrew her spousal block on the house being sold with the land registry....
The house is sold and is in the conveyancing process. Contracts have exchanged but not completed. My feeling is the house sale will go through long before mediation does whatever it's going to do for her...
In the meantime I'm going to need to rent somewhere else / furnish etc etc. As the house is all in my name and the divorce is in limbo while she wants to do mediation does that mean I can't/shouldn't access these funds?

I am seeing my solicitor again ASAP after the xmas break but this is playing on my mind... Generally just after some pointers - any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks smiling smiley
Re: Mediation to resolve finances... although previously agreed. Advice...
adviceseekers - 21 December, 2016 06:55PM
A quick addendum - if she's getting legal aid due to being unwell/disabled - would that normally cover the whole cost of mediation, or would I still be charged for some of the costs?
Re: Mediation to resolve finances... although previously agreed. Advice...
davidterry - 22 December, 2016 12:46PM
Since you are not g3etting legal aid you will be expected to pay your own mediation costs.
Re: Mediation to resolve finances... although previously agreed. Advice...
Nev - 17 January, 2017 02:43PM
The first part of your question - how to deal with debts in your name - is similar to the situation I was in.

My ex refused mediation during our divorce, and we went through pretty much the process you describe (exchanging bank statements) via our respective solicitors. Mediation is a much better option, both in terms of costs and time - my ex's solicitors spent weeks going through the paperwork, and did indeed keep querying transactions. So, if she's adamant she wants to go through the transactions, mediation is - in my opinion - a much better option.

The bigger question may be why she feels the need to query the debts - if you agreed a reasonable ceiling to her contribution, why does she want to go into the detail? When/if you go to mediation, you may be able to short-circuit the process by focusing on that question (with the mediator to help move things forward).

My experience with the mediation service (after the divorce) was very positive - they're focused on an outcome both parties feel is fair, rather than a legal process. They also seem to be able to deal with the financial disclosure thing much more quickly than the solicitors I worked through during the divorce.
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