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Financial arrangements in a divorce

Whenever a marriage breaks down, financial arrangements should be addressed.

In the family arena there are various methods of dispute resolution and in most cases, agreement can be reached without needing to resort to court proceedings.

Once an agreement has been reached (whether the result of discussions between the parties themselves, negotiations between solicitors, or following the successful use of mediation or other forms of dispute resolution), it is usually in the best interests of all concerned for the agreement to be reflected by way of a court order.

A court order will achieve finality allowing both parties to move forward.

Where matters are agreed the process for obtaining a court order is relatively straightforward and involves filing a consent application with the court. A consent application is a legal document signed by both parties confirming the terms of the agreement. It will then be sent to court together with another document called a statement of information form.

The statement of information form provides brief details as to both parties’ financial circumstances. The papers will then be considered by a judge, and provided the judge is satisfied that the agreement is fair and reasonable an order will be made by consent reflecting the terms of the agreement. A consent application can be filed at court at any stage after the decree nisi has been pronounced.

In the absence of agreement, an application can be made to court inviting the court to resolve the financial matters.

The following should all be considered when negotiating the terms of an agreement:

  • Capital e.g. savings, investments
  • Incomes
  • Pensions
  • Policies e.g., life insurance, endowment policies
  • Property whether owned by one party, owned by the couple jointly or owned with anyone else
  • Businesses
  • Vehicles
  • Furniture/valuable items
  • Liabilities

We always advise that there should be a full exchange of financial disclosure before reaching an agreement. It is only then that the overall situation can be assessed, detailed advice given, and informed decisions made. This involves an open exchange of financial details supported by documents to verify those details such as bank statements, pension values, mortgage statements, and property valuations.

Regardless of the complexity of your financial situation, we can assist in securing a fair settlement.

Will I have to go to court to get money from my divorce?

We always try and encourage you and your spouse to reach an agreement between yourselves. If you are on amicable terms, you may be able to reach a full agreement; however, even in those circumstances you should still obtain legal advice as it is likely to be in your best interests to ensure that any agreement is reflected by way of a court order (see above). If you cannot resolve matters directly, you should seek legal support. Your legal advisor will discuss the range of dispute resolution methods available and decide which one is most suited to your situation.

Mediation is a popular dispute resolution option and in most cases, an agreement can be reached without the need for court intervention. Once an agreement has been made, obtaining a court order to reflect the terms is usually a paperwork exercise; however, if it is not possible to reach an amicable agreement or it is clear from the outset that there is a significant disagreement, the only solution may be to apply to court.

Court proceedings should always be a last resort, because of the additional expense and stress involved.

Our family lawyers are experts at negotiating financial arrangements outside of court. We also have a trained collaborative lawyer and can arrange referrals to mediation or arbitration where appropriate.

Through efficient negotiation methods, we look to cost-effectively resolve your financial arrangements, reaching a mutual agreement wherever possible. We will keep you updated throughout and work closely with you to ensure that you fully understand every decision you make.

Although it is not always necessary to go to court, if court proceedings are required, our family solicitors will adopt a robust approach to achieve a favourable result in as little time as possible.

How do I make a financial agreement legally binding?

If you have been able to reach an agreement, we can assist with drafting a consent application and statement of information form to file at court. If approved by the court, this will become a court order by consent and become legally binding. If there is to be a pension share as a result of the agreement, we can assist with the preparation of documents for the court to approve the pension share (pension annex form).

To speak to one of our family solicitors to discuss your options, please call us on 01332 226 174.

Financial settlements for business assets in a divorce

Our Family & Matrimonial team has considerable experience and an enviable national reputation for dealing with complex, high-value financial settlements.

Claim from your divorced partner’s pension or trusts

We provide financial settlement advice to a wide range of individuals, with particular expertise in cases involving partnerships, limited companies, pensions, overseas assets and trust interests.

Additionally, we regularly advise on cases involving inheritance and pre and post-marital accrual. We also have experience in cases where there is material non-disclosure, including hidden assets.

I am dependent on my ex-partner.  Can I make any claims whilst the divorce is ongoing?

If your divorce leaves you financially struggling, you may be able to claim a form of interim spousal maintenance (not to be confused with child maintenance) whilst the divorce is ongoing and before a final order for finances is made. In the absence of agreement such an application can be made as soon as divorce proceedings are underway. This may then lead to ongoing provision for spousal maintenance. This is complex and advice should be tailored to your individual circumstances. Our solicitors are equipped to represent you in all stages of this process.

As well as acting for the husband or wife directly involved in finance proceedings, our team also has experience in successfully representing interveners and third parties who have an interest in property or assets being considered by the Family Court.

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