It is normal for couples to find it difficult to discuss what should happen to their finances when they split up. This is usually a very emotional and stressful time, and anxiety about the future as well as unhappiness about the past often get in the way of practical discussions about what will be fair and reasonable.

In family mediation the mediators use their experience of negotiation and family disputes to help you both exchange information calmly and openly, and to co-operate with one another to identify a fair way forward. This can be much cheaper and quicker than using solicitors to do all the negotiation, and may also be much less confrontational and distressing in the long term.

'If, instead of spending – squandering – over £430,000 in costs, the wife and the husband had been able to resolve their differences at a more modest and, dare I say it, more seemly level of costs, there might very well have been enough left in the matrimonial 'pot' to house the wife and children and to enable the children to remain at their school, whilst still leaving something more than a mere consolation prize over for the husband. As it is, it is hard to see much being left from the wreck, not least after the trustee in bankruptcy has had his costs, expenses and remuneration. It is difficult not to be reminded at this point of Jarndyce v Jarndyce . . . And the wife and the husband – and for this purpose I refer to them as the mother and the father, for that is what they are – are faced now with the wretched and thankless task of trying to explain to their daughters how it has all come to this.'

Mr Justice Munby (as he then was, now Lord Justice Munby) commented in KSO v MJO [2008] EWHC 3031 (Fam), a case involving assets of about £500,000 in total.

Turner & Johnson Mediation