For many people the stress and worry about the financial consequences of separating is one of the most difficult aspects of the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership. Our team of divorce and family lawyers are experts at resolving all financial aspects of relationship breakdowns including dealing with complex assets such as businesses, trusts and pensions.
At George Green we provide you with straightforward advice and work with you to achieve the best outcome so that you can begin to make plans for your future.
What am I entitled to?
Interim maintenance If one party is unable to support themselves and the children, the court may order the other party to pay maintenance until a financial settlement is reached and the proceedings are concluded. In some limited circumstances, you can also seek provision to assist with the cost of legal fees. This is the only order which can be made before a final settlement is agreed.
Periodical payments This is generally known as maintenance. The court can order a regular payment to be made by one party to another and/or for the benefit of the children. This can be for a fixed length of time following the end of a marriage/civil partnership or can continue indefinitely on what is known as “joint lives” basis.
Lump sum payment One party is ordered to pay a specific sum of money to the other party. It may be that an asset such as the family home may need to be sold for this payment to be made.
Transfer of property One party is ordered to transfer ownership of an asset, such as the family home, to the other.
Pension adjustment orders The court has wide powers to deal with the division of pension assets. The most common type of order is a pension sharing order, where the pension of one party is split and shared with the other. However the court can also give one party a greater share of capital assets in place of a share of the other’s pension.
In order to determine which combination of these is appropriate all of the circumstances of the case must be considered. The most important will be the welfare of any dependant children and their needs in terms of housing and support will be the first priority.
Other relevant factors then include the income, earning capacity and financial resources each party has available to them, financial needs in terms of housing and any disabilities they may have. The age of the parties, duration of the marriage and the standard of living enjoyed will also be considered.
There is no set formula for the division of assets. The above factors must be balanced to achieve a fair settlement overall. It is vital you seek legal advice from the early stages of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution to ensure your rights are fully protected. Our divorce and family lawyers are dedicated to helping clients achieve the best possible outcome for their future.
How do I get a financial settlement?
A settlement can be achieved without either of you having to attend court. Our divorce and family lawyers are experts at negotiating out of court settlements for our clients to minimise the financial cost and emotional impact of the relationship breakdown.
Both parties must provide full details of their financial positions through a process known as financial disclosure. Once disclosure has been given they look to reach an agreement as to the division of their assets. An agreement can be reached directly between the parties through mediation, or negotiations conducted through our divorce and family law solicitors.
Rachel Baker (head of the family team) is a trained mediator and can provide you with detailed information and support with regard to the process and can explain potential benefits of engaging in mediation.
Mediation has to be considered before the parties issue financial remedy court proceedings.
If an agreement has been reached either through mediation or negotiation it is recorded in a consent order which is signed by both parties and sent to the court for approval. Once approved it creates a legally binding financial settlement.
it is not possible to reach an agreement we would advise the issue of court proceedings known as financial remedy proceedings. This involves the court assisting the parties of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution to reach a financial settlement.
Once proceedings are issued a strict timetable is put in place and action can be taken against a party who fails to comply with this, for example by failing to disclose their assets. This process is designed to help couples reach a settlement by agreement, in which case a consent order will be filed and the proceedings brought to an end. The majority of cases settle by agreement however where this is not possible the court will impose a settlement on the parties.
This area of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is complex. In order to achieve the best outcome for you, your children, your finances and even your business it is important to seek legal advice from the beginning. All of our divorce and family lawyers based in Cradley Heath and Wolverhampton are members of Resolution (the association of family lawyers) and are committed to resolving disputes in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. Our main priority is to meet your needs in the most cost effective way to achieve the best outcome for you.