A formula to divide assets on divorce without going to court
By Anna Sutcliffe, Senior Family Law Executive
A key question on the best time to divide your assets during these unprecedented times is what happens if they increase or decrease in value after you have separated – and while you are still attempting to reach a settlement?
As highlighted in our previous blog, decisions on “who gets what” will not be based on the value of assets at the time of the separation but on what they are worth now.
If you are among the couples who are looking to separate in the current climate, you would be well advised to consider the following alternative dispute resolution processess which, if successful, could be resolved within 4-6 months.
Mediation can help couples resolve their differences and find solutions which enable them to move forward positively. An impartial third party “the mediator” helps them discuss issues confidentially and find workable agreements. The potential benefits are many: agreements can be reached a great deal more quickly and cheaply than by using the court process or in solicitors’ correspondence and ongoing communication limits the emotional damage which follows in the wake of an acrimonious battle.
As with family mediation, Collaborative Law avoids Court proceedings and other adversarial approaches to settlement. A “no court” agreement is signed at the beginning of the process so that there is a shared commitment to finding an agreed resolution. Although the process can work for any couple, it can be of particular benefits in higher value or complex situations.
In family Arbitration, couples appoint an arbitrator who will make decisions for them. The process enables the couples to resolve disputes in a more flexible and less formal setting.
The parties have to pay for the arbitrator’s fees, any venue hired, and transcription service, if required. The ability to limit disclosure and the scope of the dispute, if properly utilised by the parties, should in many cases lead to a cost saving, since the parties can agree to slim their case down and concentrate on the essential points to be decided.
There is also the benefit of having the same Arbitrator through the process which will not happen at Court with Judges and the knowledge that your Arbitrator is an expert in financial remedy proceedings. Again, this isn’t always the case with a Judge at Court as they may have backgrounds in other areas of law.
Jones Myers family lawyers are experienced in the above processes. The firm’s founder, Peter Jones, was among the country’s first Arbitrators qualified to arbitrate on financial and property disputes and the break-up of civil partnerships or disputes between cohabiting couples whose relationships have ended.
If you are contemplating divorce or separation, we recommend taking advice from a specialist family lawyer such as Jones Myers as early as possible – and preferably before any discussion with your spouse. Then take time to reflect on the advice before making any final decisions.
For queries on divorce, finances or any aspect of family law, call our experienced family lawyers at Leeds on 0113 246 0055, Harrogate on 01423 276104, or York on 01904 202550. All calls are redirected to our staff working remotely. Visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @helpwithdivorce