I’ve separated from my partner – what process do we use to decide how to divide our assets?

There is lots to think about if you’re separating from your partner.  In an ideal world, you would resolve any disagreements amicably but what if that is proving too tough to do?  It is usually better to keep disputes out of court so as to avoid the cost, delay and uncertainty of litigation. Dispute resolution can take on many forms including mediation, collaboration and arbitration.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way for you and your ex to resolve disputes. The mediator is a neutral and impartial third party who is specially trained to help you both reach a negotiated settlement. The mediator cannot impose a decision on you meaning you keep control over both the process and the outcome. 

Collaborative law involves you and your ex each instructing a specially trained family lawyer. Through a series of face-to-face meetings, the four of you work together to reach an agreement.  At the start of the process, everyone signs a participation agreement which prevents the lawyers from continuing to represent you if the discussions break down and it is necessary to go to court.  This helps to keep everyone focused on achieving a successful resolution. 

Unlike mediation and collaborative law, which are both aimed at helping you and your ex reach agreement, an arbitrator will make a binding decision for you.  However, unlike court proceedings, arbitration is a very flexible process.  It is also usually much quicker and cheaper.  

The best way though to resolve disputes on separation is to avoid them in the first place. Legally binding cohabitation agreements can clarify how you and your partner plan to manage your finances whilst you are together and provide certainty in the event you separate.   A written agreement can avoid a great deal of unpleasantness and cost by avoiding arguments in the first place.

Our expert family and cohabitation lawyers are trained in all areas of mediation, collaboration and arbitration and will work hard to avoid going to court and secure a successful outcome for you and your family.  For more information or an informal chat about your next steps, contact us on 0344 326 0450 or email us at cohabitation-law@mills-reeve.com

Kris Arpon