Lawyers for Financial Settlements on Separation
When a marriage ends in divorce, your finances have to be divided fairly and in line with the current legislation.
This includes any property, investments, savings and pensions that either of you have. Even when the divorce is amicable there is a lot to consider, and negotiations can become lengthy and complex.
At Lupton Fawcett, our family solicitors have helped many clients reach a fair and effective financial settlement that both sides are satisfied with. We understand that divorce proceedings can be a difficult time and will work hard to reach a satisfactory conclusion as swiftly as possible.
If you need any advice or assistance with a financial settlement in divorce, or would like information on what your rights are, contact us today on 0330 404 6443, or fill in the enquiry form on this page and we will get back to you shortly.
Expert divorce financial settlement solicitors
We provide specialist advice on a wide range of divorce financial settlement issues to clients throughout England and Wales from our offices in Leeds, York and Sheffield.
We advise on a variety of methods to help reach a financial settlement, including:
- Negotiating directly with the other party
- Attending family mediation
- Engaging in the collaborative law process
- Using traditional solicitor-based negotiations
- Representing you in court proceedings
The main issues to be considered as part of the financial settlement are:
- The needs of any children.
- The financial needs of both parties.
- Current earnings and potential future earnings
- The assets owned by each party.
- The financial and non-financial contributions each party has made to the partnership.
The financial settlement is a separate process to the divorce. It becomes legally binding through a consent order, which is signed by both parties, once the Decree Absolute has been granted in the divorce proceedings.
About financial disputes in divorce
When dealing with financial disagreements in divorce or civil partnership dissolutions, it is necessary to obtain a full picture as to the income, personal and business assets of you and your partner, in order to establish what is in the pot to be distributed between the parties.
Financial settlements may include what is known as a ‘clean break’, which terminates any future claims that either party may have against the other. It is the court’s role to consider if a clean break is achievable.
However, in some cases, it may be appropriate for ongoing maintenance payments to be made either for a fixed or open-ended term.
We always encourage clients to try to reach an agreement between with their former partner, and we are usually able to resolve disputes without going to court through a process of mediation and negotiation, and this is the best way to maintain most control over the outcome.
For example, courts are not equipped to factor in the sentimental value of assets that may be more important than their monetary value to one side or the other, but you are obligated to accept the court’s decisions on these matters too.
With the help of our expert divorce solicitors, court proceedings are often avoided, but if alternative dispute resolution methods do not achieve a financial settlement that you and your spouse can agree on, an application to the court may be the only way to finalise matters.
There are a number of factors that the court must look at during financial settlement cases, with the first consideration being towards the needs of any children involved. These considerations include:
- The financial resources of the parties, including income, capital and property
- The financial needs and responsibilities of the parties
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family
- The age of each party and the duration of the marriage
- The contributions made to the welfare of the family
- The conduct of the parties (in extreme circumstances only)
The specific orders the court can make will broadly cover capital, maintenance, property and pension arrangements.
The starting point for financial division of assets is a 50:50 split. However, this may be departed from as there may be issues to consider such as contributions to the marriage, pre-marital wealth and inheritance payments introduced into the marriage.
The court has wide powers to rewrite the parties’ finances and a wide discretion as to how it does this. There is, therefore, a real ‘litigation risk’ for both parties, so it’s essential you are well advised to deal with these difficult issues realistically to reach a fair solution.
Applying for a financial order
Once you have reached an agreement about how your finances will be split, a financial order is the document that makes those decisions legally binding.
Either party can apply to the court for a financial order provided they have not remarried in the meantime. The court cannot make final orders until decree nisi has been pronounced.
There are, however, preliminary orders the court can make for regular maintenance payments from one spouse to the other until the overall financial settlement is resolved.
There is every reason to try to reach an early agreement about all financial matters but especially immediate arrangements, as a holding position, until all matters are agreed or determined by the court.
How do we know what is fair?
This is a broad concept depending on the parties’ individual circumstances and is influenced by recent case law in addition to the statutory criteria as set out above.
The starting point set out in the very famous case of White v White in 2001, is a 50:50 division of assets. However, there are often reasons to depart from this. One party may earn more than the other, they may be minor dependent children whose primary home is with one party, there may be issues such as inherited assets, premarital acquired wealth, contributions of such a nature which should be taken into account and a whole host of other factors. It is important therefore to be aware that often a 50:50 division of assets is simply not appropriate.
It is also important to understand what powers the court has in relation to dealing with finances associated with the marriage. Courts can, for instance, order properties to be sold or transferred to the other party, or one party to have a deferred charge type arrangement over the property. Courts can also make orders in relation to pension provision.
Financial interests and pensions
Parties sometimes do not appreciate that an unequal division of capital may be the correct outcome based on their particular financial circumstances.
There are issues that may be relevant. For instance, one or both parties may have business interests, interests under a family trust or other investments, which may need to be valued and considered.
There are also potential considerations in relation to pensions.
It is a common misconception that all pensions are the same and one should simply add the values together and divide by two when looking at a long marriage. However, one person may have a final salary scheme and the other may have a money purchase scheme. They are very different types of arrangements and specialist advice is needed in this area.
Whilst it might seem like a 50:50 split is the fairest answer, there are a large number of circumstances when a departure from equality of division would be more appropriate.
Contact us for help
At Lupton Fawcett our family solicitors have helped many clients come to an amicable arrangement in disputes regarding finances. We understand that divorce proceedings can be a difficult time and work hard to reach a satisfactory conclusion as swiftly as possible.
If you need some assistance or would like information on what your rights are, contact us today on 0330 404 6443, email us or fill in the enquiry form on this page and we will get back to you shortly.
We provide a personalised service, with sector specialists and extensive resources to ensure we are giving you the best solutions to your problems.
Our Family Law Solicitors act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Nottingham. We can support your needs wherever you live in England and Wales.
Please either call the office or leave your details using the contact form at the top of this page. We’ll be happy to help