The financial aspects of divorce are dealt with separately to the divorce process itself.
The law gives each of you and your husband, wife or civil partner prospective claims which can be made against the other parties’ assets and income. There is a wide discretion to change the ownership of property and the system prioritises the needs of minor children and then looks at a checklist of factors including what the resources are, how long you have been married, the parties’ ages and health, the standard of living during the marriage and the parties’ contributions.
The goal is then to create an outcome which achieves fairness between the parties and recognises the roles that each party has played. At our first meeting we will aim to give you a view about how strong the claims are on each side and the best way of resolving your dispute.
The first stage of the process is usually an exchange of disclosure of assets and income in some form. Once each party understands the financial picture, the process of determining a fair outcome may involve negotiation with solicitors, mediation with a mediator or litigation or a private court process. There are no hard and fast rules about what is fair – it depends on family circumstances, the history of the relationship and the children’s needs.
We have significant expertise in financial remedy matters to assist including:
- How to manage finances upon separation;
- The law on settlements and the options for coming to an agreement;
- Organising and guiding you through methods of dispute resolution including family mediation and collaborative law to help you to come to an out of court agreement;
- Providing tailored advice in relation to asset division, spousal maintenance and child maintenance;
- Drafting and formalising the financial settlement in the form of a consent order and accompanying documentation;
- Starting financial proceedings in court if you cannot come to an agreement and instructing a specialist barrister enforcing your court order if your partner or spouse fails to comply.
What might make my matter more complicated?
Some of the complicating factors in which we have significant experience are:
- Either of you owns a business;
- There are significant assets and some of these are pre-marital or post-separation;
- There are inheritances to take into account;
- One of you has left work to care for children;
- One of you has a disability or health issue affecting your current and future earning potential.
You may also want to consider whether or not a case is appropriate for a “clean break”. A clean break is where there are no ongoing spousal maintenance payments because each party can support themselves using the assets they receive from the settlement. The question of any child maintenance will be dealt with separately to a clean break between spouses or civil partners.