Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can I Enforce an Agreement?

Perhaps. Even a Private Agreement, such as a verbal Agreement to "split everything equally". If it is deemed fair to hold both parties to the Agreement then the court will uphold it, even if it would have ordered a different settlement.

What is important in enforcing an Agreement?

Were the parties on an equal footing? i.e. one was not coerced by the other
Was there full and frank disclosure about all the financial circumstances?
Did both parties have legal advice?
Was there a mistake?
Was there fraud?
The conduct of both parties before and after the Agreement
Has something happened since the Agreement which invalidates it?
Has there been delay?
Has either party relied on the Agreement and acted upon it?
Were the parties actually in Agreement?

All of the above is dependant upon the individual facts of the case and one party can often believe they are in accord when they are not... or they can be deliberately misled by their ex partner...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Beckhams to divorce?

Are the rumours true? the Daily Mail has made the most of this story.

Often celebrity couples deny rumours... and then separate a few months later.

The Beckham split or non-split story has been around for a number of years.

I have never heard rumours that the Queen and Prince Philip are going to divorce but there were lots about Charles and Diana.

It is often the people you least expect who decide to separate.. giving an outward appearance of harmony and then shocking their acquaintances, for example, Chris Hulme.

Everyone who gets divorced receives unwanted notice, comments and attention. It is acceptable to tell over-inquisitive people that you do not want to talk about it!! However, maintaining a dignified silence may be hard when you want the world to know how awful your spouse has been. Remember that some people feed off other's misery.

Finally, if you are still talking about your divorce 2 years later then it is probably wise to think about getting some counselling...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Does Mediation Work?

The Courts and the Government are trying to encourage couples to Mediate upon separation.


There are no statistics to confirm how successful Mediation is. When a couple obtain a Mediated Agreement they then take it to a Solicitor who converts it into a Consent Order which is filed with the Court.

However the Courts do not keep statistics as to how many Consent Orders are agreed via Mediation. Unfortunately, Mediators often say that once they have completed a Mediated Agreement, that is the last contact they have with their clients. They have no feedback as to whether the agreement was ratified into a Consent Order.

Mediators have records of how many of their own Mediations are successful and how many breakdown. The statistics alone do not reveal how successful Mediation is given the lack of follow-through from the Courts.

One thing is certain, Mediation is being more and more actively encouraged. There are many more qualified Mediators. Indeed, most Family Law Solicitors are encouraged to become Mediators as well.

I myself am a qualified Mediator and find the process of Mediation very different to that of the role of a Divorce Solicitor.

The key points of Mediation are as follows:-

1. It is voluntary. Couples choose to Mediate and can choose to cease Mediating at any stage of the process.

2. The Mediator is an impartial third party who is there to assist the couples to negotiate their own agreement. The Mediator cannot give legal advice.

3. The Mediated Agreement is not legally binding. In order to make it into a legally binding agreement, it is necessary to have it converted into a Consent Order and filed with the Court.

4. The purpose of Mediation is to obtain an agreement at lower cost, with the least stress, anxiety and acrimony. It is particularly suitable for dealing with Children Act Applications.

It is important to remember that a Mediator cannot give legal advice and, therefore, parties are advised to have their own Solicitor representing them throughout the process. Solicitors should cease attempting to negotiate whilst Mediation is ongoing, but should meet with their client at each stage to advise them as to their legal rights and obligations.

Remember too that you can instruct a Mediator direct - you do not need a referral via a solicitor.

I blogged recently about UGLIMEDIATION they offer a new service in that they will Mediate over the phone - this is especially useful for couples who live some distance apart or who do not want to meet up but do want to resolve their differences with as little acrimony as possible!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is Mediation?

I am a Mediator as well as a Solicitor - the 2 roles are very different!!!

Mediation i
s a process through which an independent third party who is neutral and normally a fully qualified solicitor helps the parties to obtain a negotiated settlement by agreement.

The Mediator's role is to assist the parties in obtaining their own agreement. The Mediator cannot give legal advice and does not represent either party.

The Mediator can outline the options available to the parties. However, it is for the parties to choose how they wish to proceed.

The process normally takes at least four sessions. Initially there is an intake session where the Mediator meets the parties individually to assess suitability for mediation. The first meeting will outline what the Mediator aims to achieve and answer any initial queries. At the second session, both parties will be expected to supplied and exchanged full financial disclosure. This means a full list of their assets and liabilities, including Pensions, Credit Card debts, individual items worth more than £500 and 12 months' copy Bank Statements.

All income details are also required, including three months' payslips and the lastest P60 and Tax Returns. If there is Company involved, then two years' accounts will also be required.

If there are large Pension assets or trusts, sometimes an independent expert's Report will be required prior to proceeding with mediation.

Once the parties have full financial disclosure, the Mediator can then produce an Asset Schedule and the purpose of the following session is to assist the parties in negotiating an agreement which they can both live with.

Mediation does not necessarily obtain the best scenario for either party, but it obtains a compromise which both parties are prepared to stick to.

Once a Mediated Agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) is drawn up it then needs to be given to the parties' Solicitors to be drafted into a Consent Order. Once Decree Nisi has been obtained, the Consent Order can be filed with the Court and becomes legally binding upon Decree Absolute.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What is Ugli mediation?

Anyone Contemplating getting divorced may be interested in a new resource:


The new approach offered by UgliMediation is that they will mediate with you over the phone.

It is therefore now possible to mediate even if you and your partner are in different locations, or if you do not want to be in the same building as your ex – not so unusual a reaction.

More details will be available at the Divorce Workshops