When a couple decides to end their relationship, it’s usually the case that they wish to separate their lives as soon as practicably possible. This can prove difficult to do if you owned property together during the relationship.
Settling property matters is an important step in being able to move forward with your life, particularly given the amount of money we usually have tied up in a real estate asset. Whether you want to sell what was formerly the family home and split the proceeds, or wish to buy out your ex-spouse in order to stay on in the house, resolving this issue can be hard at an already emotional time.
What’s more, many people are under the impression a court will split property assets 50:50 between the parties. This is not the case. Instead the court uses a lengthier process that takes in such things as the financial and non-financial contributions made during the relationship and each party’s future needs in order to decide on a fair and equitable division of property.
How does mediation help?
Because it be complicated and take some time, property settlement is something to be undertaken as soon as possible after a couple decides to separate or divorce. Married couples do not need to wait until they are divorced in order to decide what to do with shared property assets.
Compared with going to court, mediation is a faster, cheaper and generally more satisfactory means of coming to a property settlement with your ex. The structured process, guided by an independent third party in the form of a qualified, experienced mediator, allows each of you to calmly and methodically go through the issues involved.
By doing so you can hopefully come to a negotiated settlement that meets the needs of both parties. Mediation property matters are generally resolved much faster than when they are conducted through the court process.
Making the agreement formal
In many cases, a separating couple will already have worked out what they want to happen in regards to dividing property and other financial assets. But even in this situation, it’s advisable that each seeks independent legal advice and proceeds through the mediation process.
By doing so you can reach an agreement that the mediator can formally document. It’s then up to both of you to decide whether the agreement is to be enforceable, and therefore legally binding, or merely informal, with both of you agreeing to abide by its terms.
The advantages of family law mediation
The ability to act quickly in conducting a mediation, plus its affordability and convenience for both parties, means that the sometimes complicated process of property settlement is made much easier.
This is particularly important when there are children from the relationship, who may be experiencing emotional disturbance from the uncertainty around their future living arrangements as a result of the separation.
Additionally, the agreement made between you and your ex-spouse is a work of mutual creation. You may not get everything you wanted, but you will both get many of the things you needed. This process helps preserve a civil relationship between the parties in the future.
Family law mediation is also a voluntary process. You can walk away at any time if the experience is not working for you. Any agreement you make with your ex is also confidential between the parties.