There is no getting around the fact that a divorce can be expensive. However, how you deal with your divorce can not only affect your legal bill but also the relationship between the two of you. If you have children, coming out of your divorce with at the very least a civil relationship and at best a constructive one must be the aim.

Options for resolving financial matters

During an initial appointment with your lawyer there will be a discussion as to the processes available to help you resolve financial matter. These include mediation, negotiation, and the court process. Whilst the court process is a last resort, mediation and negotiation can be used together as a constructive process.

Mediation – steps to take

A mediation assessment (MIAMS) is a requirement before you start any court process. This involves meeting with a mediator to discuss whether the process is right for you. Mediation is voluntary and it is important to remember that you must both agree it is right for you. You attend separate assessment meetings so you can have an open discussion with the mediator.

If you decide you want to try mediation, you will be given financial forms to complete for your first appointment. A date will be set for that first appointment, and you will discuss the information needed for you to be able to talk about your finances. These forms are usually based on the court financial forms (depending on your mediator) and can seem daunting to complete.

Whilst your solicitor does not attend the mediation appointments, using them to assist not only with the completion of these forms but also with obtaining expert reports e.g., valuations and engaging actuaries to assist with advice on pension sharing can make the process more effective and easier. As you progress through the mediation, they will be able to give you advice on the order a court may make, and on the factors a court will consider.

Advantages to mediation

The advantage for you of a negotiated settlement, unlike the court process, is that you have control over the factors you both feel are important. This can include acknowledging that one of you has received inheritance, whilst your spouse will receive theirs in the future.

Another factor in favour of going to mediation is that it can be much more cost effective for both parties, as well as helping you to reach an agreement quicker. While your lawyer won’t usually attend the mediation sessions, they will be able to help you to understand the outcomes that are likely in the event of contested court proceedings and support you in the next stages of the process including points that you should be making during the mediation sessions. It is also possible for solicitors to attend mediation if you would find that helpful – this is known as solicitor attended mediation. This is where the mediator generally shuttles between two rooms – one where you and your solicitor are based and the other where your spouse and their solicitor is based. The mediator then tries to ascertain if an agreement can be reached.

If an agreement is reached in mediation, it is essential that it is still confirmed in a document known as a consent order which is approved by the Court on paper – it is only by doing so that it is considered full, final and binding.  You should obtain legal advice regarding this document.

If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, there are other forms of alternate dispute resolution that can be tried if you want to avoid the Court process and your solicitor should be able to discuss those options with you.


Resolving financial matters on divorce is important, as is finding the right method for you. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact our Family Team and we would be happy to help.