Frequently Asked Questions:
When you get married or enter a civil partnership, you will not be expecting it to end, but sadly for almost 50% of couples, this is the reality. Even if the intention is to split up amicably, making decisions on how to split any assets or finances can lead to long, drawn-out disputes over who gets what and on any future financial responsibilities. In this article, we look at Financial Settlement Agreements and the typical questions our divorce solicitors frequently get asked.
What is a financial divorce settlement?
A financial settlement is a formal agreement designed to set out any financial responsibilities and fairly separate your finances once your marriage is over. If you and your ex share a home, joint bank accounts, are in business together or have any joint debts, or if there are children to consider, financial divorce settlements look to address these matters.
A financial agreement can cover matters including child maintenance and how debts will be paid moving forwards.
Do you need a financial settlement agreement to get divorced?
No, you do not need a financial settlement agreement to get divorced, but without either a financial agreement or consent order in place, either party can make a claim against the other’s finances, income or assets, even after the Decree Absolute is pronounced.
This should be agreed on during the divorce proceedings and if it has remained amicable, then there should be no need to go to court to get the financial settlement and consent order finalised.
However, once you have reached an agreement with your ex, it will be advisable to ask your solicitor to draft a consent order to make it legally binding.
This is a legal document that confirms both parties’ agreement and needs to be approved by a judge, after the decree nisi (the first part of the divorce process) has been pronounced.
Will I need to go to court regarding a financial settlement?
If you wish the court to decide how you divide your assets if, for example, you were unable to reach an amicable agreement regarding your matrimonial finances via means of a consent order, then you can apply to the court for a financial order. The application for a financial order following the presentation of a petition for divorce is called ancillary relief. This is because it is in addition to the divorce and requires a separate set of proceedings.
How long does a financial settlement take?
Giving a timeframe on a financial settlement is difficult as it will mostly depend on any complexities of your financial affairs and how amicable the split with your spouse is.
Hopefully, the financial settlement can be negotiated over the same timeframe as the divorce proceedings, to then be confirmed by the consent order. Even in cases where this takes a little longer than the divorce itself, it will normally be possible to reach a financial settlement agreement in a few months rather than years in cases where there are no major disputes.
Are assets always split 50/50 in a divorce?
No, this is not always the case and it will be dependent on a number of factors. Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (the Act) sets out the issues that the Court is to consider in deciding how to exercise its powers. These are as follows:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
- The contributions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
Need our help regarding a Financial Divorce Settlement?
It is important that you seek the advice of an experienced divorce solicitor who will be able to provide you with advice and guidance on your legal rights regarding matrimonial finances and all the options available to you.
If you are looking for divorce financial settlement solicitors near you, then our matrimonial finance solicitors in Brixton will be able to provide you with practical advice regarding all divorce financial settlement matters, consent orders, ancillary relief proceedings, financial orders and clean break agreements.
To speak to one of our experienced divorce lawyers, in Brixton, regarding finances and financial agreements, you can call us on 0207 095 5700 or make an enquiry here. Your enquiry will be dealt with in complete confidence and you can always be sure of our complete discretion.
Our other Legal Services
We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a complete legal service, covering all the legal matters that you may require. When going through a family law issue, we realise there may be other matters you would like to discuss with us, and should you require it, we will ensure you get all the advice and guidance you need concerning other legal matters including property law, Immigration, child care law, and Divorce and Separation.