Divorce Financial  Settlement Solicitors: Advice and Support

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After deciding to get a divorce, it may seem overwhelming to separate your joint finances and assets. However, obtaining a mutual financial settlement is crucial to ensure your future is secure. Divorce without a financial settlement can cause further complications between both parties in the future.

In the event of a divorce, it is necessary to come to a formal financial settlement, even if you and your partner kept your finances separate wen you were married or in a civil partnership. At Expert Family Law, our goal is to assist you in effectively managing the distribution of assets, including properties and pensions.

Expert Family Law have a panel of divorce solicitors who can assist with financial arrangements and other aspects of divorce.

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What is a financial settlement?

A financial settlement refers to the process of determining how a couple’s assets should be divided when they separate. This includes married partners, civil partners, or couples who have lived together.

When a decision is made to divorce, it is important to consider how their assets will be shared fairly. Both parties are entitled to reach a financial settlement to meet the needs of any children involved and enable both parties to move forward into the next phase of their lives.

Although it is not mandatory to reach an agreement, failure to do so may result in your spouse or partner making a financial claim against you in the future. Therefore, it is always advisable to come to an agreement and have a Consent Order in place, even if you don’t have shared assets like pensions or savings.

Financial settlement process

There are various methods for arriving at a financial settlement, and it is a common misconception that this process has to be a time of arguments and stress. Financial settlements can be agreed by the couple themselves. They may also seek assistance from a solicitor, or engage in mediation or collaborative law processes. It is possible to formalise a settlement into a legally binding court order without ever setting foot in a court building.

In some cases, it may not be feasible to reach an agreement for a variety of reasons. When this occurs, a couple can apply to the court to settle any disputes. However, just because an application has been made does not necessarily prevent the couple from reaching an agreement. The court can make a reasonable order regarding the assets in question.

What is we cannot agree on a financial settlement?

If you and your spouse or civil partner are unable to come to a mutual agreement regarding a fair division of assets or arrangements for continued financial support, your solicitor may recommend mediation to find a resolution.

If mediation is unsuccessful, you will need to apply to the court to establish a settlement. The court will consider several factors. These may include your age, future earning potential, property and cash holdings, and whether you were the breadwinner or a stay-at-home parent.

It is essential to note that the court will always prioritise the welfare of any children involved when determining a divorce financial settlement. They will ensure children have appropriate housing and financial support after their parents’ separation.

What types of orders are there?

Maintenance Order

A regular payment made by one partner to the other for their or their children’s benefit, usually weekly or monthly, is referred to as a periodical payments order or simply, maintenance.

Once entitlement to maintenance has been established, the court can take steps to ensure that the payments will be made by issuing this order.

Lump Sum Order

A specific sum of money can be paid to one partner, which is known as a lump sum order. This payment can be made as compensation for an interest in property, such as the family home, or for assets like savings and investments.

Property Adjustment Order

Property can be transferred or adjusted between partners, or one partner can be given a specific interest in the property, often the family home. This type of order is known as a property adjustment order and can include other assets. This typically includes a holiday home, car, or shares.

Pension Sharing Order

Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets, second only to the family home, and the court has several options for dealing with these settlements. This includes pension sharing orders, pension off-setting, or orders for pension attachment or earmarking.

Clean Break Order

In some circumstances, a clean break order may be made. A clean break order is a legal agreement in a divorce that permanently ends the financial ties between the spouses. This means that they cannot make financial claims against each other in the future.

This type of order is especially relevant in situations where both parties agree that they do not wish to have any ongoing financial obligations towards each other.

What do financial orders mean in divorce?

To legally settle any financial obligations between former spouses, obtaining a financial order in divorce settlements is crucial. Such an order outlines the division of a couple’s assets and financial affairs following their separation.

During divorce, the court is authorised to issue a financial settlement order. However, it cannot make a final financial order or capital order until a decree has been pronounced. Nonetheless, it can order interim maintenance from the date of the petition.

How are assets split in divorce?

There is not a determined formula for dividing assets during a divorce. When negotiating a financial agreement, certain criteria must be taken into account. How these criteria are applied will depend on the specific circumstances of each case and relevant case law. The court will weigh all factors to determine a settlement that’s equitable.

When a family’s resources are insufficient to meet the needs of both spouses, priority is typically given to the economically weaker spouse in resource allocation. This is known as the needs approach.

In cases where a marriage has been lengthy and there’s a surplus of assets, a proposition of equal division based on contribution is often regarded as the fairest.

How long will it take to get my financial settlement?

Once a settlement agreement has been reached, the court can make your court order at any time after the Decree Nisi is pronounced. However, it will only become effective after the Decree Absolute is granted. This entire process usually takes around 6 to 8 months to complete. However, if both parties cannot come to an agreement, the process can take much longer, up to 12 to 18 months or more. 

How can Expert Family Law’s panel of divorce financial settlement solicitors assist?

We ensure that the divorce financial settlement solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

The solicitors on our panel can assist you through the process of divorce. This includes the application, as well as assisting you with child arrangements, financial settlements and ancillary relief following the termination of your marriage.

Our panel of divorce financial settlement solicitors and experienced family law firms will help you to navigate a range of issues and disputes. This includes financial matters and they will assist you in reaching an agreement on such issues.

Whether you are going through a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, our panel of family law solicitors will provide pragmatic legal advice and assistance. They can guide you through every step of the process.

Each solicitor we work with is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a divorce financial settlement solicitor from our panel could help on your case.

Divorce financial settlement solicitors FAQs

What is the role of a divorce financial settlement solicitor?

A divorce financial settlement solicitor specialises in helping clients navigate the complexities of separating financial assets and liabilities during divorce proceedings.

Their role includes providing legal advice, representing the client in negotiations. It also includes preparing necessary documentation, and ensuring that any financial settlement is fair and complies with legal standards. They can further help in applying for court orders if mutual agreements cannot be reached.

 

Can a financial settlement include provision for future changes in circumstances?

 

Yes, financial settlements can include clauses that account for significant future changes in circumstances. This might involve adjustments to maintenance payments if the financial situation of either party significantly changes.

 

Are assets acquired after separation included in the divorce financial settlement?

 

Generally, assets acquired after separation are not included in the divorce financial settlement. However, the specific cut-off date for what is considered matrimonial assets can vary depending on the circumstances of the separation.

It is important to consult with a solicitor to understand how assets acquired post-separation might be treated in your specific case.

 

What happens if one party hides assets during a divorce financial settlement?

 

If one party attempts to hide assets to avoid sharing them during a divorce, it can lead to legal consequences. These may include penalties or a more unfavourable division of the remaining assets. Divorce solicitors can help uncover hidden assets through financial discovery processes, involving the examination of financial records and sometimes forensic accounting. If hidden assets are discovered after a settlement, it may be possible to challenge the settlement in court.

 

How can I ensure my financial security post-divorce?

 

Ensuring financial security post-divorce involves careful planning and negotiation during the settlement process. It’s crucial to obtain a clear understanding of your financial needs and potential future expenses. A divorce financial settlement solicitor can help you assess your financial situation. They can also negotiate terms that protect your interests, and suggest mechanisms like insurance or trusts to secure long-term payments. Additionally, they can assist in setting up a realistic budget and financial plan for life after divorce.

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