Subject: Newsletter - 1st edition - Divorces and Pension/Provident Funds
Dear friends and colleagues
I’ve received so many questions over the past couple of months – some of which I think most of us have asked at some point or may ask in future – that I thought it best to compile a type of newsletter or circular. The aim here will be twofold: one newsletter to communicate information, strategies and opportunities within the mediation community, another newsletter by which we can market services related to mediation.
This first newsletter will be distributed with all email addresses BCC’ed. I respect your privacy. For this reason, I ask that you notify me within 7 days should you wish to remain anonymous. For the purpose of creating a community where communication is not just a one-way street, all future newsletters will be sent out with the email addresses displayed (this way participants may communicate to the group as a whole).
PENSION/PROVIDENT FUNDS AND DIVORCES
When compiling a Divorce Settlement Agreement (‘Deed of Settlement’) it is crucial that you use the correct terminology and wording. Should incorrect or inconsistent wording be used, chances are that the pension/provident fund will NOT pay out at the time of divorce and that an application will have to be brought before the court to have the Agreement amended. Needless to say, this is serious egg-on-face for us as mediators in a growing profession.
Please read through the attached PDF and pay particular attention to the last section (the last page contains a sample wording). I’ve never had an Agreement sent back to me by the courts but I’m glad I found the wording (which I now use as a standard).
Edit (2017/09/14): Retirement Annuities are excluded from division in all marital property regimes.
1. Compile the Divorce Settlement Agreement, ensuring that all critical areas are addressed as per your training:
Division of Assets
Division of Debts
Care of Minor Children (compile a Parenting Plan if possible)
Contact with Minor Children (compile a Parenting Plan if possible)
Maintenance for Minor Children (compile a Parenting Plan if possible)
Use of Mediator / ADR Mechanism instead of Litigation should a dispute arise (ask the Parties if you can put your company name in here!)
Standard Terms for Divorce Agreements (as per my examples from training)
2. If possible, compile a Parenting Plan. This is not just a marketing gimmick, this is an effective tool to pre-empt future conflict and a concise vehicle for creating a roadmap for the Parties.
3. HAVE THE PARTIES’ FUND ADMINISTRATORS CHECK THE AGREEMENT PRIOR TO HAVING IT PROCESSED BY THE COURTS. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO REPRESENT THE PARTIES IN ANY CAPACITY UNLESS YOU HAVE A SIGNED POWER OF ATTORNEY IN WHICH CASE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MEDIATE THEIR CASE! SIMPLY PUT, INSTRUCT THE PARTIES TO FORWARD THE AGREEMENT TO THEIR FUND ADMINISTRATORS AND HAVE THE FUND ADMINISTRATOR CONFIRM IN WRITING THAT THE AGREEMENT IS 100% CORRECT.
4. Process the divorce as per my material during the training (i.e. the Parties register the divorce at court and jump through the admin hoops themselves or refer the matter to a lawyer within your network).
If you’re interested in marketing your services to the group, please send me your information (name and surname, contact number, town & suburb, content of marketing proposal including rates). If you don’t want to receive this separate marketing newsletter, kindly send me an email to confirm such). Keep in mind that you’ll be marketing to mediators, so selling your services as a mediator will be a moot point.
Should you have a question (mediation related) or an area of special interest you’d like the group to discuss, please forward it to me.
On a separate note, Family Justice is no longer providing training (though the mediator’s Case Management System is still going strong). I’m now with the Social Justice Network where training will resume from mid-August. www.socialjustice.co.za will be up and running soon :)
I look forward to seeing you at the SAAM 2016 conference tomorrow and/or Thursday. If you have not yet registered please do so immediately (on the http://saam.org.za/ website). This is the biggest and best opportunity for networking (and you’ll get CPD points to boot!)
Founder | SAAM Accredited Mediator | NABFAM Accredited Training Facilitator