So you’ve decided to go down the path of an amicable separation. What’s next?
For Property Separations
The first step in any property mediation is determining the Asset Pool.
To assist in that – have you and your separating partner exchanged financial information?
The most relevant information to exchange is:
- A list of assets you currently own with approximate values
- A list of liabilities you owe with approximate values
- Most recent tax returns
- Most recent superannuation statements
- 12 months worth of bank statements
- If you have an interest in a trust, business or company:
- The most recent tax returns
- Profit and loss statements
- List of assets and liabilities
- 12 months bank statements.
- Anything else you think is necessary for your separating partner to know.
If necessary, obtain valuations or appraisals for any properties.
Give strong consideration to what you really want to achieve from the mediation.
Be realistic about what property you might want to keep and what property you might want the other person to keep. Consider:
- Will you be required to refinance liabilities, mortgages loans etc
- Have you spoken to the bank and determined your borrowing capacity
- Will you need to make a cash payment to your separating partner and if so, where will that money come from and how long will you need to get your finances in order
- Will it be necessary for assets or properties to be sold, and if so, who will sell them, what are the costs of sale, how long will it take for things to be sold, will there be any tax consequences of the sale and if so who will be liable for those
- Is there to be a superannuation split (one partner transferring some superannuation to the other partners superannuation fund).
Do you have any realistic idea of the range of likely outcomes and also the likely costs if you and your separating partner can’t resolve your situation outside of court?
For Parenting Separations
Always remember that parenting arrangements are to be in the best interests of the children. This means we will be looking at any proposals from their perspective.
Parenting arrangements will be different for each family, depending on the age and maturity of your children. No two children are alike and arrangements that work for one may not work for the other. We also need to remember that as children get older, more mature, and have more involved schooling / extra-curricular activities / social lives, arrangements may need to be revisited and reconsidered.
It is very important that you and your separating partner are able to take into account these considerations during the mediation.
Here are some specific examples of things to consider before your first mediation session:
- How will you co-parent / communicate
- How will important decisions be agreed into the future
- Where will you each be living
- What school the children will attend both now and into the future
- How will the children move between your houses
- How will you share the children’s expenses
- What happens as things change into the future
- What will happen on special days.
Separation isn’t detrimental to children, conflict is detrimental to children
How you and your separating partner communicate, interact, and co-parent will have a lasting impact on your children.
If both parents remain child focused, willing to compromise and flexible, positive outcomes are more likely.
By Leon Berger, Dignity.EDR
If you, your friends or colleagues are in the throes of separating and want to know where to turn to for a dignified respectful positive separation – then point them in our direction. We offer a 15-minute free consultation to discuss the process and what to do next and how we can help.