Finances on Divorce Claims

The financial aspects of divorce are a key consideration for most couples on separation. Our experienced family lawyers aim to help you reach a financial settlement with minimal stress and expense.

There are many ways of resolving the finances on divorce, including solicitor-led negotiations, round table meetings and alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration. In some cases it will be necessary to issue a court application. Whichever process you choose, we will endeavour to resolve your matter as efficiently, cost effectively and amicably as possible. Contact our family experts today

Our Family Law team have a broad range of experience, including cases with:

  • modest assets, where the family home is usually the key asset, through to high net worth families;
  • assets and income located abroad and/or a spouse based abroad;
  • trusts, nuptial settlements and pre-marital agreements (pre-nuptial/post-nuptial agreements);
  • high value or complicated pension schemes either in England & Wales or abroad; and
  • family businesses and family owned properties.

We can also advise on situations where:

  • one spouse is hiding assets or income and failing to provide adequate disclosure;
  • urgent applications to prevent a spouse transferring or dissipating an asset to put it beyond the reach of the other spouse; and
  • enforcement of financial Orders on divorce.

What is a financial settlement?

The aim of a financial settlement is to divide the marital resources fairly so that each party can move forwards independently as soon as possible, whilst being able to meet their income and housing needs and those of any children. What is “fair” will be based on each couple’s particular circumstances.

When parties are able to agree the terms of a financial settlement they will need to prepare a draft Consent Order setting out the agreement for the court’s approval. The sealed Order from the court will be a watertight document. If the parties cannot agree the terms voluntarily they may need to consider arbitration or a financial application to court.

The financial settlement will cover all of the financial claims arising at the end of a marriage, including claims relating to the division of assets, income, pensions, property and moveable items, such as cars, artwork and jewellery. It may also deal with maintenance for a spouse and/or children.

Common terms include:

  • whether the family home or additional properties will be sold or retained by one party;
  • the division of any equity in any property;
  • the division of any pensions to achieve either equality of income or capital on retirement;
  • the division of any shares, investments or savings;
  • whether one party should pay spousal maintenance and/or child maintenance;
  • the division of cars, artwork, jewellery and the contents of the family home, and any shareholding in a family company.

We recognise that every couple has different financial needs and priorities and we will take time to consider what is important to you.

What are the marital assets?

The “marital pot” includes all of the income and assets to which each party is entitled whether in England & Wales or anywhere in the world. It does not matter in whose name the assets are registered or when they were purchased, even if this was before the marriage. The starting point is to include all of the assets before deciding what a fair division is of what is in the pot.

All financial settlements on divorce should be based on the exchange of full and frank financial disclosure. This is normally done by each party completing a Form E, which is the court’s disclosure document. We can assist you with the preparation of your Form E and the exchange.

Financial applications on divorce

The court process begins when you issue a financial application. Upon receipt the court will give directions as to the progress of your case. This will include directing the parties to exchange financial disclosure in a Form E.

A financial application usually involves three court hearings, as set out below. At the Final Hearing the judge will make an Order deciding the terms of a financial settlement. However, most parties settle between the first and second hearings or shortly afterwards. We will always aim to reach a negotiated settlement at the earliest opportunity even once proceedings have been issued.

  • First Directions Hearing

This is procedural hearing at which the court will decide what steps need to be taken in the case. This could include requesting the parties to provide documentation, valuation evidence etc.

  • Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing

This is where a judge will review the information which has been given and encourage the parties to consider whether they can reach an agreement. If this is not possible, the matter will continue to a Final Hearing.

  • Final Hearing

A judge will consider all of the evidence, including witness statements and oral evidence from each party, and decide the terms of a financial Order.

Download our Guide to Financial Provision on Divorce

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