FLiP Settle: Amicable & Cost-Effective Solutions for Separating Couples

 

While the ending of a relationship may be focused on the legal process and practical issues, it is also a very personal matter, and one that can be deeply unsettling. It is a time when decisions made in the heat of the moment can have consequences that affect individuals and families for years to come. Creating the time and space for carefully thought through and considered decisions can have long term benefits.

At FLiP we recognise that couples who separate need not only first-class legal expertise but also insightful and experienced support for the changes in their relationship to help them through to the next chapter. We also know that most couples want to work together to explore solutions in a cost-effective and amicable environment.  A key task for our advisers is to help you identify the resources that you will need to meet these goals.  A shorthand for one great way of working is FLiP Settle, which harnesses together three different components, mediator, counsellor and arbitrator, to address the legal, relationship and practical issues that arise at separation.

FLiP Settle: The Benefits →

  • One team working together: A core team of FLiP specialists comprising a mediator and a therapist will work with you providing support and guidance to underpin your work together.
  • Creative solutions developed together: We provide a unique space for relationship issues to be explored with our therapist, paving the way for constructive solutions to be developed and agreed.
  • A safe environment: FLiP Settle is designed for those couples who genuinely intend to work together. Initial screening meetings ensure that this is what you are both looking for, and that FLiP Settle is right for you.
  • Impartial and independent: Our FLiP specialists, and any other experts brought into the process, are impartial and independent – they won’t favour one of you over the other.
  • Tailored and flexible: While there is a standard framework for FLiP Settle, this can be tailored to suit your particular needs and requirements.
  • All “under one roof”: A full range of expertise and support can be provided ‘under one roof’. The mediator will help you to decide if or when additional experts may be needed to advise on discrete issues.
  • Cost effective, fixed price packages: FLiP Settle offers fixed price packages to suit your budget.
  • Privacy for you and your family: FLiP Settle gives you the opportunity to reach an agreement in private ensuring that your personal information remains confidential.
  • A final outcome: We work with you to achieve a binding agreement – so that everything will be settled once and for all. (And any agreement which is reached can be converted into a court order, if appropriate and required).
  • Encouragement & support to reach solutions: Inevitably, taking separate legal advice tends to focus on differences and risks polarising. FLiP Settle focuses on the common ground and seeks to provide the impetus to reach appropriate and safe agreements even on the areas on which agreement can’t be found immediately.

FLiP Settle: How Does it Work? →

FLiP Settle offers couples the opportunity to work together with specialists in the FLiP team to address all aspects of the ending of your relationship. The involvement of our multi-disciplinary team provides a unique space for the thinking and planning that underpins a couple’s move towards separated lives to take place.

Meetings with one of our expert family mediators enable the legal and practical work to be progressed efficiently and cost-effectively. Meanwhile, time spent with our experienced in-house therapist allows you to address the emotional and relationship issues together as they arise, as well as making a space for you to think about the wellbeing of any children you may have.

At key points the mediator and therapist will both meet you together, at “anchor” meetings, so that everyone fully understands what obstacles might stand in the way of an agreement and can develop a plan for the best way forward.

Additional advice or support may be needed and this can be included in FLiP Settle too. This might involve:

  • guidance from a family law specialist so that you understand the likely outcome if your case went to Court (this is known as Early Neutral Evaluation);
  • advice from experts on pensions or other specialist areas; or
  • administrative support to assist with forms and the formal divorce application.

Our experience suggests that agreements which have been mediated in a robust and open manner, as FLiP Settle offers, are more likely to get earlier buy in and provide a better way forward for the family than a court-imposed order. However, we also know that not everyone can agree everything and there may be some issues that a couple are unable to decide between themselves. Instead of de-railing the whole process, these residual tough issues can be referred to an arbitrator for a binding decision to be made. An arbitrator makes their decision in the same way as a Judge at court does and their award or determination is usually then made into a court order.

FLiP Settle offers complete flexibility enabling couples to work together to develop solutions that address both the legal and practical aspects of their separation, and their emotional needs too. The result is an arrangement that truly matches their future aspirations.

FLiP Settle: Is it Right for Me? →

FLiP Settle will not be suitable for all couples. This might be the case if, for instance, things are particularly difficult between you and your partner, or where there is a significant imbalance of power. Before we start our work with you, we will meet each of you, separately, in a free 30-minute consultation so that we can be confident that FLiP Settle is right for you.

FLiP Settle: What Does it Cost? →

We have designed a framework that enables you to select a FLiP Settle package that suits your needs and your financial circumstances.

The cost for the standard FLiP Settle package is £7,500 per person (ie. £15,000 per couple) (to include VAT).

The standard FLiP Settle package includes:

  • 2 x anchoring meetings (with both the mediator and the counsellor present)
  • 3 x meetings with the mediator only
  • 4 x sessions with the counsellor only
  • Fees for any court forms
  • Access to our Parenting After Parting course

If you require arbitration, our fees start from £2,500 plus VAT.

We will not be able to accommodate some situations of particular complexity within this fixed fee but we will discuss with you what alternatives we can provide.

Further services (with additional costs) include:

  • Early neutral evaluation:

Where a family solicitor or barrister provides guidance on the legal approach and the likely range of outcomes if your case went to court, providing as clear and narrow guidance as is possible.

  • Advice from other specialists:

This might include guidance from pensions experts or other professionals.

  • Administrative support:

We can offer administrative support such as fixed fee processing of the divorce petition, diary management and/or form completion.

FLiP Settle: A Step by Step Guide →

  • Initial Assessment & Consultation

You might each choose to have separate brief meetings with one of our advisers just to find out more about FLiP Settle– or more efficiently you might do it together.  But before progressing, we will carry out what is called a MIAM, a mediation information and assessment meeting, with each of you separately.  The information given in those meetings is confidential within the meeting. MIAMs are charged at a fixed fee of £220 plus vat for each meeting.  The meeting is used by us to gain an understanding of the things that you know need sorting and to hear what you think may stand in the way of that.  It is our job to help you survey your choices and decide what seems to be the best way forward for you, whether that is mediation, FLiP Settle, advice or in some cases straight to court! We may recommend that you use a different service offered by FLiP or others – we are resolutely focused on what we think will work best for you. If you decide to use the FLiP Settle process, the cost of these MIAM meetings will be deducted from the cost of the FLiP Settle package.

  • 1st Anchor meeting

Anchor meetings are a unique forum where the FLiP specialists – the mediator and the therapist – meet with you as a couple. These meetings take place at key times in the process and provide a space for the thinking and planning that will underpin your work together, helping you to achieve your separation collaboratively and co-operatively. For instance, this might include conversations on how you might talk to your children about the separation, or the practical arrangements that need to be in place while you work towards your final settlement.

Agreeing joint aspirations in this first anchor meeting can have a profound effect on the way your future discussions unfold.

  • Counselling

The standard FLiP Settle package includes 3 counselling sessions with an experienced relationship therapist. In these sessions you can think together about the issues that may be arising within your relationship, how they might be impacting on the progress of the legal, practical and financial discussions and also, crucially, you can make a space to think about how best to support any children you may have.

Where it is agreed and appropriate, the mediator and the therapist may work alongside each other to address issues which need input from both perspectives.

The number and frequency of these counselling sessions is entirely dictated by you. If you both wish to arrange additional sessions (for an additional cost), then you can do so.

  • Mediation

The mediator works with you to resolve the legal, financial and practical aspects of your separation.

They provide the legal information needed to help you to navigate the process and will work with you to identify the financial and other specific information needed to unlock the best outcome.

Once you have created an agreed financial landscape there are a number of options.  The mediator can assist you to construct an outcome together, taking into account the intricacies of your particular family circumstances. You are unlikely to progress through this stage with fewer than three meetings in the period of a month or more – some situations will take longer and additional meetings. You might decide that advice on the likely court-imposed outcome is needed, in which case an expert can be appointed to provide this jointly in a process known as Early Neutral Evaluation (see below). Occasionally (though this would be rare) moving straight to arbitration (see below) may be for the best.

  • 2nd Anchor meeting

Within the standard FLiP Settle package, a second anchor meeting will take place after the initial counselling and mediation sessions. This is an opportunity for you both to take stock, with the support of your FLiP team, and consider your next steps. This may range from finalising your agreement (after all your hard work), bringing in additional expert advice, scheduling further mediation sessions (as you are almost there!) or choosing arbitration to settle those matters you are struggling to agree on. Each case will be different. It is up to you both, with the support and guidance of your FLiP team, to decide how best to move forward.

Optional Services (with an additional cost):

  • Additional counselling or mediation work

You may be progressing well with the core team of mediator and counsellor but just need more time with one or both to resolve all the things you need to sort.

  • Early Neutral Evaluation

It is often the case that clear legal guidance and advice provided to both parties by an impartial expert at the right time can unlock solutions to problems which couples are struggling to resolve. That is why we offer a process known as Early Neutral Evaluation as an optional feature of FLiP Settle.

If you add Early Neutral Evaluation to your FLiP Settle package, a neutral third-party expert will provide a written evaluation of the likely outcome if your case went to court.  This can provide a basis for further in-depth mediation, or the opinion of the expert can be accepted and made into a court order.

  • Experts

Where expert advice on other specialist areas is required, such as pensions or financial advice, the FLiP team can call on a unique network of trusted advisers to feed into the process.

  • Arbitration

Even with the most amicable separation there can be sticking points where you are simply unable to find an agreement. In other cases you might want or need to achieve a swifter conclusion.

When you begin the FLiP Settle process, we will ask you both to sign a form committing to use arbitration should there be a few sticking points left.

If appointed, the arbitrator will provide a decision on the matters on which agreement can’t be reached. The arbitrator’s decision will bind you (as the decision of a judge would do). This gives you both the certainty of knowing that when your work with the FLiP team finishes, you will have a decision on all matters – either because you have reached an agreement between yourselves with the help of your FLiP team, or because the arbitrator has made a decision for you.

FLiP Settle: Find Out More →

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about FLiP Settle, please contact Director James Pirrie on T: 020 7420 5000 or E: jp@flip.co.uk

Our People

 

We have some of the very best family mediators, along with accomplished arbitrators, family consultants and counsellors. There’s no one better to handle your case.

Team of Family Lawyers Talking