If you come into mediation to reach agreement on your finances following divorce, then the process starts with something called ‘financial disclosure’.
This means that you each share details of all of your finances with each other and the mediator. It is a legal requirement that you both have to fully disclose details of your finances.
Why financial disclosure is helpful
This makes sense because neither a court nor you can decide on a fair split of your finances if you don’t know what makes up the finance ‘pot’. Disclosure needs to include all assets, liabilities and income, whether it is in your name or joint names and it doesn’t matter how the money was acquired. Details of the assets need to be disclosed even if you have already agreed between yourselves that one of you won’t make a claim on parts of the other’s assets.
How it works
In mediation, disclosure is done by completing a simple financial form that lists all the different types of assets, liabilities and income that you have. You go through it and complete the sections relevant to you. You will also need to supply evidence to back up the information you supply. This is done by way of statements or valuations.
You each complete your own information and send it to the mediator before the first meeting. The mediator will then process the information ending up with a joint financial statement. This statement lists assets or liabilities owned in either of your names and also in joint names. It also shows your incomes and projected future expenses.
What happens next?
In your first joint mediation meeting, we will run through the financial disclosure in order to make sure that you both understand it and agree that it is accurate. It is very common for one person to want to ask questions about the information that the other has supplied. Sometimes, one person will need extra explanation so that they can understand the information supplied. Often we will create a list of additional information still required. The disclosure process is not complete until both people understand it and agree that it is accurate.
If you complete your disclosure via your solicitors, this is done by way of a similar financial information form called a ‘Form E’. Sometimes people have already completed these before they come into mediation and, providing the information is fairly recent, we can use this information instead of doing it all over again.
Personally I think that disclosure is quicker and less expensive to do in mediation than via solicitors, unless your finances are very complex. This is because it is so quick and easy to ask each other (with the support of a mediator) questions about the disclosure. If you do it via solicitors, any questions go by letter to the other solicitor and then to their client and then back again. I have also found that sometimes someone has resisted disclosure via their solicitors but have been willing to work together in mediation to provide it.
Once you have completed your financial disclosure, then we can move forward to work out how to fairly split the finances between you so that both of your needs, and those of your children, are met. To read more about how we do this, click here.
If you have questions about financial disclosure in mediation, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07706 513496.