After 8 years of marriage John and Sally had decided to separate and divorce.
They were referred to a specialist. John and Sally instructed him to act for both of them. They wanted to produce a matrimonial property settlement by mediation. There was to be no involvement from Solicitors in the early stages.
John and Sally agreed on a formula. They were also to agree on the division of household chattels. They had worked out custody and access for the kids.
The house was then sold and the proceeds paid into the trust account of the mediator’s solicitor.
Instructions were then sent by the mediator to his solicitor. A Relationship Property agreement was prepared along the lines agreed to by the parties.
John and Sally took this agreement to independent solicitors for signing.
The chattels were then distributed as were the proceeds from the house sale. It’s interesting that the settlement was not a 50/50. John had brought much money into the marriage at the beginning. All parties acknowledged this.
The final cost of mediation was $8,000.00. This is compared to quotes they had both received from legal advisors of between $14,000.00 and $18,000.00 (each).
This innovative method would not suit everyone, nor be possible in all cases. But it does show that the standard method of doing things is sometimes more expensive than it needs to be!
(Names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality)