Divorce Finances – very careful thought and analysis will need to be given to the options for financial settlement.
If you are married, and either you or your spouse start divorce proceedings, either of you have the ability to make financial claims in relation to income, capital, property and pensions.
The law in this area is complex and each family is unique. There is no “one size fits all” in connection with financial settlements.
The first step is to gather details of the financial resources available. We will then advise you as to your options. Each case is different. Whether your concern is having insufficient funds to live separately or you have a more complex situation, perhaps including a business, farming or trust issues, we have a specialist who will be able to help you. Our team of lawyers have a wealth of experience of dealing with a full range of financial issues arising from a separation.
Our family law experts also work closely with our Financial Planning Team to ensure that you receive comprehensive advice, in particular in relation to pensions and tax.
What is a fair settlement?
Our specialist family team can advise you on what is fair in your circumstances. The first step is to make sure that the settlement is such that any children are appropriately provided for. The other factors which will be taken into account (and which are set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) are as follows:-
i. The ages of you and your spouse;
ii. The ages of the children;
iii. How long you have been married;
iv. How much you both earn and what either of you may earn in the future;
v. Any disabilities;
vi. The standard of living during the marriage;
vii. Any contributions made by either of you during the marriage (this could be an exceptional financial contribution such as an inheritance received although the contribution does not have to be financial).
What claims can my spouse make?
Either party can make claims for various Financial Orders. The four main Orders which the Court has the power to make are for periodical payments (maintenance paid by one party to the other), Orders for the Payment of a One Off Capital Lump Sum, Pension Sharing Orders and Property Adjustment Orders, for example, in relation to the sale or transfer of the family home.
It is important to make sure that the financial settlement that has been agreed is properly recorded in a Court Order. If the Court do not approve the settlement and turn the agreement into a Court Order, it may be possible for you or your spouse to try and make financial claims many years after a divorce has been concluded.
Who can help us reach agreement?
The majority of couples are able to agree how assets and income should be divided. Reaching agreement can be achieved in the following ways:
- A couple reaching agreement between themselves.
- Agreement reached following some negotiation through Solicitors.
- Family mediation
- The Collaborative Law process.
Whichever process is right for you our family law team will provide clear and practical guidance throughout.
What if we can’t agree?
Sometimes a couple can’t agree and it may be necessary to start proceedings at Court, known as financial remedy or ancillary relief proceedings. Sometimes there may be compelling reasons why it is important to start Court proceedings at an early stage. For example, the dissipation of assets or jurisdictional issues.