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The Ultimate Guide to Facilitation

The Ultimate Guide to Facilitation

Divorce is a tough experience, full of emotions, paperwork, and legal jargon, not to mention child arrangements and financial disputes.

Many couples seek help through services like family mediation, arbitration, and litigation to guide the process fairly. But what if you and your partner agree on everything? What if you don’t need all the fancy legal services but still want a binding agreement? That’s where Facilitation comes in—a simpler, cost-effective way to make your agreement legally binding.

What is the Facilitation Process?

Our Facilitation Process is designed for couples who have already reached an agreement (in principle) regarding their separation or divorce. It provides a structured approach to validate and process this agreement by a neutral third party.

Facilitation Packages are particularly popular for obtaining clean break consent orders or separation agreements. Facilitation allows couples to work with one independent expert. This expert oversees the process, sense-checks the agreement to ensure it is viable and drafts the necessary documents for a solicitor to draft a consent order/separation agreement.

It is a process of self-determination – much of the work must be completed by the clients; they must do their own research, check what the courts require, understand what the court sees as fair, how the length of marriage impacts settlement, and in the case of cohabitees, gain an understanding of TOLATA. Also, you may want to take independent legal advice to ensure you dot the I’s and cross the T’s.

Key Features of Facilitation Packages

  • Single Point of Contact: Couples deal with one facilitator to validate and finalise their agreement.
  • Legal Expertise: An experienced solicitor will draft legal documents and communicate with the court.
  • Fixed Fee Structure: Costs are predetermined, providing clarity and allowing couples to budget effectively.
  • Amicable Process: Facilitation reduces the friction, cost, and time associated with traditional legal proceedings.

When Should I Consider Facilitation?

If you can answer “yes” to most of the following questions, a Facilitation Package might be suitable for you:

  • Do you both agree on every aspect of the terms of your separation or divorce?
  • Are you seeking validation and finalisation of your agreement by an independent expert?
  • Do you want to check that your agreement covers all necessary aspects the court considers?
  • Do you prefer a streamlined, cost-effective, fixed-fee approach without unnecessary legal friction?

How Does Facilitation Work?

The facilitation process typically involves three main steps:

STEP 1

Once you have confirmed you are happy to proceed with the facilitation package, we ask you to complete your financial disclosure and a client information form, providing your details, your financial agreement, and any parenting arrangements you may have. We provide a checklist showing what you MUST have before we can commence.

Once we have all your documents, we check them for completeness and accuracy. This is a detailed review and assessment of everything you have supplied. We allow two attempts to get this part of the process right to enable us to move forward.

Sometimes, clients separated several months, or even years, before, and now they are looking to put a financial order in place. We can help with this too and need you to list everything you agreed when you separated.

If the settlement you have outlined falls outside of what the court would expect, you will be asked to explain how you feel it is fair.

STEP 2

If your Facilitator is happy with your paperwork, we schedule your 90-minute meeting. Your facilitator will prepare a plan for the meeting. Together, you will review and confirm the financial disclosure, the division of assets you have agreed to, and any ongoing payments. We can cover child arrangements, if necessary.

At the end of 90 minutes, you will have fully agreed to your divorce or separation. We will then draft up to three documents, depending upon your need: a child arranagements plan, open financial statement and  memorandum of understanding.

STEP 3

Once you have agreed the documents, we will instruct a solicitor to process the consent order for you both.

Mediation or Facilitation?

While both mediation and facilitation aim to resolve disputes amicably, they serve different purposes. Family Mediation is more appropriate when financial or child arrangement issues are unresolved and require fully discussion. Conversely, facilitation is ideal for couples who have already reached agreements but require confirmation that what they’ve done is appropriate for legal processing.

What happens if I don’t complete my documents correctly?

Facilitation as a service aims to sense-check an existing agreement. You must undertake the initial groundwork, and there are no shortcuts. If the instructions cannot be followed as directed, you must consider exploring alternative options that align more closely with your requirements and expectations.

Your agreement must meet the necessary criteria. If the documents are not completed correctly or are insufficiently detailed, this will hinder the effectiveness of the process, and you will fail to qualify.

If you fall short of the expected standards for the facilitation process, you cannot proceed.

Summary

As a process, facilitation offers a structured, cost-effective, and amicable approach to finalising separation or divorce agreements. By streamlining the process and providing expert guidance, we aim to alleviate the stress and uncertainty often associated with legal proceedings.

It’s important to note that facilitation may not be suitable for all situations. Mediate UK reserves the right to decline facilitation requests deemed unsuitable or not meeting the required criteria. In cases involving unique circumstances, it’s advisable to seek clarification before considering facilitation.

GET IN TOUCH TO FIND OUT HOW MEDIATE UK CAN HELP WITH YOUR PARENTING OR FINANCIAL DISPUTE, OR WITH A DIVORCE OR SEPARATION.

CALL 0330 999 0959 OR CLICK HERE FOR A FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION

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