A newly published book by a Gloucestershire businessman who was almost bankrupted by his own divorce lawyers looks at the more profitable alternatives, including mediation, as more positive options when aiming for an amicable separation.
How To Profit From Your Divorce by P.A. Ross is not, as the title might suggest, about getting as much as possible of your household’s finances and assets in the settlement – in fact if anything, it takes the opposite approach.
Instead, it is about resolving the separation amicably and, crucially, affordably, while then looking ahead to your long-term future as a newly separated individual with personal finances to manage.
The author, Paul Ross, describes 2006 as his ‘nemesis year’, as he both lost his mother and endured the breakdown of a 25-year marriage within the space of the same 12 months.
When his relationship came to an end, he and his former spouse were keen to separate amicably; however, they rushed into the process with full legal representation, and soon found their respective legal teams engaged in battle over the family finances and assets.
Ultimately this led the household to near-bankruptcy, and Mr Ross and his then-wife took a step back, fired the legal teams, and instead arranged their own separation agreement with the approval of the courts.
In the end, Paul says he wishes they had taken a break from their relationship to let their emotions cool before starting divorce proceedings, and that they had explored mediation rather than immediately appointing lawyers.
The meaning of ‘profit’
In his book, Mr Ross is not concerned with short-term financial gain through divorce, which is where many negotiations become acrimonious, time-consuming and costly.
Instead, he looks to the long-term, starting with a cost-efficient divorce strategy that puts both parties and their family first.
Beyond this, his ten-point plan works towards a quality financial settlement and then starts to look for a positive return on investment from the divorce.
The ultimate aim is to establish a ten-year plan, at the end of which both parties will not only be back on a firm financial footing, but should be in profit not only in terms of money, but also in terms of emotional and psychological enrichment.
How mediation can help
Mediation is all about representing the interests of both parties – and any dependants, as well – rather than pitting spouses against one another during divorce.
It’s a faster, more cost-effective, and typically lower-stress option than letting a legal team represent each spouse in negotiations.
Ultimately, this is a form of ‘damage limitation’ for divorcing couples, not only bringing your relationship to a satisfactory legal conclusion faster, but preserving as much of the family finances as possible so you can both fund your lifestyles as you move forward as individuals.