Disclosure process and mediation
Have you been asked to complete a form E disclosure?
Are you worried the disclosure will cost a lot of money via Solicitors?
Mediation can take of form E disclosures saving time, money and stress.
For couples divorcing, or separating , reaching agreement on how finances should be split can be problematic. To enable a solution to be reached, that is fair to both sides, each party must share financial information, in a process known as Financial Disclosure.
This process involves both parties swapping financial information, including any relevant paperwork e.g. wage slips, bank statements. This often means completing a form, known as Form E. This lengthy form requires each spouse to list all assets they own and any income received.
It also details the supporting documentation required to verify the figures.
To ensure that a fair assessment can be made, no assets must be hidden or undeclared. Non- disclosure of assets could lead to any settlement being re-opened, even years after the event. It is not unknown for serious cases of non-disclosure to result in a prison sentence.
Once full financial disclosure has been provided by both sides, negotiating the final agreement can begin. Ideally, this settlement should be agreeable to both parties and viewed as fair by the court.
If the couple can reach an agreement, a Consent Order is drawn up, which is then approved by both sides. After this has been done, the Consent Order is passed to the court for final approval.
However, even if the divorce is relatively amicable, discussions involving finances can be stressful. During an emotional time, it can be hard to remain objective. Therefore, it can be difficult to reach a financial agreement by consensus.
If the parties involved are unable to reach an agreement themselves, the settlement is negotiated through mediation or the legal system. In most cases, mediation is the preferred option, for some reasons.
Firstly, mediation is, invariably, less costly than using a legal representative. While a mediator might charge a similar fee to a solicitor, the dispute is usually resolved much more quickly. The legal process can be very slow moving, meaning a resolution might take months.
Through mediation, most disputes can be resolved in a matter of weeks. Aside from cost, if an agreement is arrived at quickly, this is less stressful than a long, drawn out legal battle.
Resolving a dispute through legal channels can be confrontational and lead to both parties being inflexible in their approach, with neither side prepared to compromise. The act of talking, through mediation, can prevent this from happening. A mediator can encourage an open approach to the discussion.
Divorces are emotional affairs. Even when both sides agree on a discussion, this can soon descend into arguing and accusations. Mediation can give the discussion structure, preventing the conversation straying from the topic of finances.
While mediation is not counselling, and should not be treated as such, the act of sitting and discussing can lead to an understanding of the other spouse’s side. This can result in a more civil relationship after the separation, especially beneficial if young children are involved.
If an agreement is reached by mediation, this has been achieved by both parties working together. Therefore, the final agreement is more likely to be mutually acceptable, with neither side feeling aggrieved at the outcome.
Mediation is confidential, no one but the people involved knows what is discussed. Court hearings, on the other hand, can be very public.
Finally, the aim of mediation is not that either party feels that they have won, or lost. Instead, both sides should be satisfied with any agreement that is reached. See our prices here