Monthly Archives: October 2014

Separation Options – What is Expensive? What is Affordable?

Mediation is a process where an impartial mediator helps you communicate and sort out agreements on things you disagree about. You choose when it happens, and your priorities are respected. If both of you want to resolve problems in mediation, whether it is differences about your children or how to split your assets, money and pensions, then you will be able to resolve all this and more in mediation. Issues that currently seem insurmountable can be sorted out and mediation which costs a lot less than litigation, you share the costs between you and is free if you are eligible for legal aid.

shutterstock_74106811 Finances:

If there are financial issues you need to sort out then the mediator will explain how to work through the information (called disclosure by mediators, solicitors and the courts) and help you to build up a full and detailed picture of what you have, then you go on to discuss what you each will need in your future, separate lives. Solicitors can play an important part advising you alongside mediation. However, it will be more effective and cheaper for your solicitor to advise you once you have completed disclosure in mediation, as they can see what your situation is and what advice is right for you. This is faster and simpler than completing financial disclosure through your solicitors and using solicitors’ letters to communicate.

Children:

If you are separating from each other how are you going to make arrangements for your time with your children and for the school holidays? Do you need someone to help you talk this through? At Focus Mediation you can prepare a parenting plan to help you work through the future together.

Do you think that children under 4 should have overnight stays with your separated partner? Even the academics find this a tricky topic so how do you know what is best? At Focus mediation we will support you as you talk through these tricky issues, they are YOUR children and you know them best.

Mediation is not about getting back together, but getting on with your future lives, and those of your children, in a way that works for you.

Costs

Mediation is a pay as you go service. You pay for each meeting at the end; you each pay your own costs unless you agree otherwise. You don’t have any hidden charges for emails letters or telephone calls as there should not really be any. You may not have to pay anything if you get legal aid.

The question to ask yourselves, is, can you afford not to mediate? Come to a mediation assessment and see how it works.

 

50,000 children to benefit from child maintenance shake-up

Single and separated parents who have previously received no maintenance from their former partner could start receiving payments for the first time, as reform of the child maintenance system starts to affect existing cases.

As many as 50,000 children may be newly eligible for maintenance, the government has estimated, as a 3 year process of closing all existing Child Support Agency cases gets under way. A new advertising campaign to raise awareness was launched in September.

happy children

Under sweeping reforms of the system the CSA has already stopped taking on new cases, with newly separated parents encouraged to make their own family based arrangements or use the new Child Maintenance Service instead.

Now in the next phase of the changes, the agency is beginning the process of closing its 800,000 strong historic caseload.

Initially the DWP is writing to 150,000 parents with details of when their case is due to close and advice about the next steps they should take. Although there is no need for anyone to act until they receive a letter, once parents receive notification of their closure date they are urged to consider their options. The case closure programme is beginning with so-called “nil-assessed” cases – those in which, because of the circumstances of the non-resident statement parent, no maintenance has been due. Because of this, parents may feel there is little point in responding to the letter they receive.

But because the parent’s circumstances may have changed since the initial assessment was made – plus the new statutory child maintenance is much more robust, using data from the tax authorities – it may be that maintenance becomes payable once a new assessment is carried out. Therefore all parents are encouraged to act.

Parents whose CSA cases are closed are encouraged instead to make their own family-based arrangements – with £14 million ploughed into projects around the country that help parents work together in the interests of their children. If that’s not possible, they can take advantage of support available from the new Child Maintenance Service.

Whichever route they choose, advice and support is available inline or on the phone from the new Child Maintenance Options Service – 080 098 809 880 or www.cmoptions.org.uk.

Whichever route they choose, advice and support is available inline or on the phone from the new Child Maintenance Options Service – 080098809880 or www.cmoptions.org.uk.