Solicitor Rebecca Ledgerwood, in our leading Family Law team, answers five common questions relating to reaching a financial settlement upon divorce.
Why do I need to think about my finances?
When getting divorced one of the most important matters to be addressed is the family finances. By virtue of being spouses, both parties have financial claims against one another being of an income and capital nature as well as claims against each other’s pensions. Even if Decree Absolute is obtained financial claims will continue to exist unless they are formally dismissed. If they are not dealt with it is possible that your ex-spouse could make a claim against you at a future date.
What steps need to be taken to resolving finances?
The first step in reaching financial settlement is identifying what assets there are. It is advised that all parties go through full and frank disclosure on divorce. There is a court form called ‘Form E’ which is used in most cases. This form helps parties identify and share all relevant information.
Once all assets and liabilities have been identified consideration can then be given as to how they should be divided.
Do I have to hand over financial information to my spouse?
It is always advisable that financial disclosure is undertaken. Without disclosure it is difficult for either party to obtain accurate and informative advice on settlement.
What methods can be used to reach a financial settlement?
There are a variety of methods which can be used by spouses to reach a financial settlement including; direction discussions with one another, negotiations through solicitors, mediation, collaborative law and arbitration. Often a mix of these methods are used.
What if we cannot agree a settlement?
If spouses cannot reach an agreement then the Court can be asked to decide. This is achieved by one party issuing an application for Financial Remedies. Financial Remedy Proceedings are typically a three hearing process consisting of a First Directions Appointment, a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment and a Final Hearing. It is only at the Final Hearing that a Judge will decide how the finances are to be divided.
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This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.