General Legal Advice on Collaborative Law & Mediation:

What approaches other than Separation are open to couples following marital breakdown?
ACounselling & Mediation: It is imperative that all options are considered prior to embarking on a course towards separation. It is incumbent on each individual to see whether relationship difficulties can be overcome. There are a number of accredited relationship counselling agencies that may assist in facilitating reconciliation. Where reconciliation is unattainable these agencies may also assist a couple in reaching a decision on separation. Contact details for some of these services are attached. Where reconciliation is unattainable every effort should be made to negotiate a sensible arrangement for the family. This can be done either through solicitors or through mediation, again see contact details attached. The legislation specifically prohibits introduction in Court of matters discussed at marriage counselling or mediation.

The mediation process encourages a separating couple to work out mutually acceptable arrangements on parenting the children, financial support, the family home, other property and matters relating to separation. It is the mediator’s role to guide the couple towards a solution on each issue in an unbiased manner. It is recommended that each person consult with his or her own solicitor throughout the mediation process.

What ia Informal or de facto separation?
AWhere a couple reside separate and apart from each other under a casual, informal or ad hoc arrangement. Separations often commence in this manner with neither party wishing to formalise the arrangement. At some point in time the terms of separation require a formal legal framework, setting out the legal rights and responsibilities of both parties.
What is a Deed of Separation?
AFollowing exchange of financial and other information the terms of separation may be negotiated by the parties through their solicitors or through the process of mediation. For this approach to work both parties must be willing to deal with the matter on a fair and reasonable basis. Procedurally there is a difficulty in dealing with pension and certain taxation matters on foot of a deed of separation. Such matters can also be dealt with through the Courts on foot of Consent Orders, where agreement is reached.