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Financial disclosure and family mediation

So much has been written this last week about the big money cases involving Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil and how important it is for parties to have effective legal advice and thorough forensic examination of financial disclosure.

Robust legal advice, the involvement of third party experts including forensic accountants, pensions experts, counsel and IFA’s do not and should not automatically necessitate a litigious process.

Mediation is absolutely NOT an alternative to legal advice. Whichever process is used be that traditional solicitor negotiations, mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and /or financial remedy process there are essentially two vital stages:-


  1. The exchange of and analysis of the parties’ financial disclosure


  2. Negotiating a financial settlement

The process of mediation works best when each party has robust legal advice from a family law specialist. Third party experts can be brought into the process to analyse and advise upon key disclosure points and to assist with looking at the viability of options for financial settlement.

Using a dispute resolution process which does not involve costly litigation can help parties to focus upon narrowing down key issues, using specialist other professionals where appropriate, and then looking at interests and aims as opposed to being forced into positional stances which inevitably are brought about by costly and complex litigation.

Mediation is of course not a be all and end all and with serious and serial non-disclosers, being a voluntary process, it is not suitable for all situations. It is however one in our toolkit which should not be ruled out due to initial concerns as to the complexity of assets/scenarios.

Dispute resolution processes such as family mediation, collaborative law and private law arbitration are all robust yet creative forums which parties can use in the right circumstances for a fraction of the cost of costly litigation proceedings.

Hopefully the point has been firmly made by the Higher Courts as to the importance of financial disclosure and proper verification of evidence that parties are more likely to engage from the outset thus allowing more creative non litigious methods of settlement a far more attractive option.


For more information as to the processes we offer contact Sally Clark on 0113 357 1316 or