Financial Dispute Resolution at Mediation
The start of court proceedings does not mean that you have to go through the entire case until conclusion of the contested court hearing is made. In most cases, financial applications that start at the court end up being settled outside of court before the final date set for the final hearing.
This happens mostly because the couples involved may still be in the process of negotiating through their solicitors either directly or indirectly. During this time the case may still be moving forward in court as it follows a two track pathway. The couples understand that if they do not come into any agreement through the negotiation, then the court will have the mandate to hear the case and give the final judgment.
Cases also get settled before the final hearing because of what is referred to as the financial dispute resolution appointment. The main role of the FDR is to give the judge the opportunity to look at all the documents and other form of evidence presented in the case. The judge hears all the submissions from the parties involved, lawyers and provide a solution on what would make a better settlement. In addition, this allows him or her make prediction of the probable result if the case goes up to the final hearing.
Despite that FDR have high rate of success because several settlements are achieved, there are also some challenges involved:
- It only occurs at a later stage in the case hearing process, only after the formal court hearing proceedings have commenced.
- The court also lacks sufficient time to take the matter in a serious manner. One judge may be responsible of hearing many similar cases throughout the days which is another great challenge.
- The judge mandated to hear the case may not be a family practitioner specialist.
- It may be hard to find constructive solutions because the process is still adversarial.
At mediation centre, we provide a well designed option to the formal FDR appointment. This is referred as informal FDR, but in other sections of law it is called neutral evaluation. This is how it works:
- There exists a joint instruction of our specialist mediator or independent expert.
- The specialist is new as he or she will not have been involved with the matter as an attorney and will not in any way be engaged in implementation of an agreement that may be reached in the case.
- There is a consent that exists on documentation and other form of evidence provided to the specialist.
- This is a face to face process and can end up in a written opinion being given. In some cases, the specialist may be allowed to make a review of the documents and offer a written opinion.
- The process can be applied regardless of whether formal proceedings have begun in the court.
- The process can result from mediation whereby there is full disclosure and all options looked into in a thorough manner.
- The issue to be resolved may be the result of the whole proceedings or a certain issue that may be acting as a hindrance to fruitful negotiations.
- The parties have the opportunity to decide the location and timing of the meetings.
- During the process high level privacy and confidentiality are observed.
- This is a non binding process.
Therefore, it is possible to look in a non adversarial manner, the different possibilities which may arise to both parties. The specialist has the option to make an evaluation and give an opinion depending on the years of experience in this field. More informed decisions can be reached in an environment where there are no confrontations and where there are no partisan issues. The process is owned by the couples.
The entire model is based on mediation, thus it safeguards all the mediation principles. Confidentiality is observed throughout the case, the specialist demonstrate high level impartiality and the couples have full control of the entire process. The model used in the center is infinitely flexible because the clients come with their own solutions. Our work is to facilitate and mediate to ensure best results.
The professional involved in mediation and sorting out financial disputes the is a team member of the center who specializes in both dispute resolution and financial cases. Professional from collaborative law and independent financial advice is part of the group that informs the model.
We hope that solicitors make reference to the mediation centre showing the service they would like to use. In some cases the center begins the appointment, by suggesting that mediation would benefit from this model. Then, a decision is made as to whether the specialist should be part of the negotiation or someone new is needed.
Number of meetings
The model involves the first contact by the mediator with both solicitors through arranged conference call which are then followed by different meetings with the parties involved in case there is no mediation taking place. When all is clear on the model used, a single appointment is planned that takes a half or full day.
Who attends the appointment?
The appointment is attended by the parties involved accompanied by a family mediator
The charges vary from one case to the other by considering size of assets, time taken, the complexity and other circumstances that are specific to the case. However, we make sure that the overall cost is effective for all the clients.
The right time
Just like mediation, the right time is determined by the individual case. The three most probable times are:
- When proceedings are about to happen and a cheap option would be to see if a meeting would resolve the matters.
- When the proceedings have begun and an FDR is forthcoming with a cheaper alternative sought.
- Any time there is actual benefit to be gained by the parties involved having an option of working together to find solutions with direct involvement of their lawyers.
Divorce finances are the major area of the work. Others involve financial cases where is discretionary jurisdiction, cohabitation and probates matters where there are some potential gains.
Why we are the best?
We have several years of experience creating and training new approaches in mediation to address some of the most difficult issues. We are highly responsive because the service is created in response to requests made by clients and solicitors. We also have great experience in civil mediation where there is more advice given to clients than in mediation. Our experience makes us come up with constructive outcome for all our clients.
Out model is the most competitive in terms of cost and give the clients the full control to come up with their own solutions in the process. If you have any case try our new approach and you will not regret.