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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Family and Divorce

Summary

Mr and Mrs A were divorcing. They had agreed that their home should be sold but were unable to agree how to divide the proceeds or what level of maintenance should be paid by the husband.

Background

The family home was a valuable property on which an offer had been made which the parties wanted to accept but each wanted more of the proceeds than the other was willing to offer. If an agreement was not reached there was a real risk that both the offer on the home and the wife’s offer for a replacement home into which she and the children wanted to move would be lost. A further issue was the level of maintenance to be paid by the husband which impacted on the ability of both the husband and the wife to afford the mortgages on their new homes. If they had not reached agreement they would have continued to spend large sums on legal costs which would make a fair settlement even harder to achieve, would have impacted on the ability to pay school fees, and have led to an even greater level of discord.

Outcome

Each party felt strongly about the issues and wanted both to have his/her say but also to receive guidance from the impartial mediator as to what was fair and practicable. The meeting started with the parties in the same room, where they outlined their positions and sought advice. The mediator gave an indication of how he felt the differences between them on the division of capital and level of maintenance inter-related and suggested a possible route through.  After further discussion and refinement the parties both felt that the proposal was something that they could work with and they then entered into further discussion between themselves with some additional help from the mediator when they hit a problem.

Within 4 hours they had reached a complete agreement including one relating to how the children would divide their time between the parents which would not have been part of any court process.  By doing so they saved not only a large amount of costs and their sale and purchases but left on far better terms than they arrived.

Mediator: Jonathan Cohen QC