Q: My wife and I have lived apart for three years but never got round to divorcing because we couldn’t even speak to each other without a slanging match starting in the first five minutes. She had a good job and took over paying the mortgage and I moved in with my girlfriend and things have just bumbled along.
Now my girlfriend wants me to get a divorce and sort out my finances. I know these days you are meant to go through the Mediation process before going to court but this is when the real trouble would start. Is there any way round it?
A: Before taking a divorce case to court you must first find out if Mediation can help you sort things out. If you went to court and couldn’t prove that you had tried Mediation the judge could stop or delay the proceedings until you have. If your case is not suitable for Mediation you would still need to show the judge that you have considered it in your paper application to the Court.
Whilst you say you know Mediation wouldn’t work, it makes a huge difference having a trained Mediator working with you to resolve financial and children issues and if it can be done without having to go to court it will save you time, money and stress.
If you both agree to Mediation you will first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to explain how Mediation works and give the Mediator an opportunity to assess firstly whether they think Mediation will work for you and secondly how many meetings might be required to agree on all relevant issues. If you think you need legal advice to help you during Mediation, this can be arranged at any time during the process and in some cases legal aid is available to pay for this.