When a couple separate, despite the pain one or both may be feeling, most separating couples admit, during calmer more reflective post separation periods, that they need to work together to sort out their finances and continue to parent their children, in a healthy constructive way.
Our Self-Help series, How to reach your own maintenance agreements, was conceived and designed for those who, despite everything, really want to help themselves and sort things out themselves, at minimum conflict and expenditure.
However, wanting to sort things out themselves is often not enough for the separated couple who often feel the need to seek legal advice about their rights and entitlements, at an early stage, perhaps because they are feeling vulnerable and anxious in the face of hostility and uncertainty, or simply because they cannot readily find ‘user friendly’ sources of help and support to sort things out for themselves.
Unfortunately, seeking legal advice from a solicitor, at an early stage, can often have the opposite effect to the desired objective of helping and supporting the couple to work together to make decisions and reach agreements together. However, reassuring it might feel to have a solicitor ‘on your side’ the whole process can quickly become polarised, divisive and expensive.
Having said this, the couple may well need the constructive help and support from their solicitors who are there to assist and empower their clients to sort things out for themselves, if the couple want to. Having been a family lawyer for over 20 years, I definitely see the benefit of this, in some circumstances.
In fact, at Compass Resolution, we believe in an integrated problem solving client centred approach using the right resources and professionals, at the right time, for the right purpose, focused on motivating, enabling, and supporting our clients (in this case the separated couples) to sort out as much of their own post separation affairs as they can, for themselves, at minimum cost.
Our Self-Help series, How to reach your own maintenance agreements sets out in 10 short videos and 5 documents ;
- The 5 key stages for reaching a successful mediation agreement together
- The importance of the right mental and practical preparation
- How to correctly complete the monthly expenditure and income schedules, ensuring that the couple take a similar and aligned approach, minimising the areas of conflict
- 14 keys to successfully working together in mediation
- A 5 step framework for calculating spousal maintenance
- How to follow through to ensure that the maintenance agreement is properly implemented and works for the separated family
- How to ensure that future maintenance reviews are successful providing a strategy framework to help the couple resolve future disagreements.
The whole series is designed for those who learn by watching, as well as listening and reading. Each video also provides a video script, should the couple prefer to read rather than watch.
If the separated couple watch all the videos, read the guides and correctly complete the schedules they have every reason to expect to reach a full and comprehensive maintenance agreement in one two-hour mediation session with a properly qualified and experienced family mediators, costing just a few hundred pounds.
So, if you are the kind of separating couple who feel willing and able to take some control of your separation and manage your own affairs, we will continue to do our best to help you.
We are currently developing the next Self-help series on – How to divide your assets on divorce, due out in the next few months.