Divorce and Finances

One of the first questions many couples have after deciding to separate is, how will the finances work? With the right support and guidance, it can be simpler to divide your finances than you might expect.

For helpful, friendly and practical advice about separation, divorce and finances, get in touch with our divorce lawyers in Brighton or Hassocks or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.

Our separation and divorce solicitors’ expertise

There are many reasons why working out finances upon divorce or separation can be incredibly stressful. You may be worried about your future financial security and quality of life. You may be concerned about providing for your children. Or, you may feel frustrated about the prospect of giving away your money and assets to your former partner.

Working through the issues when so many emotions are involved can feel overwhelming, but with the assistance of our divorce solicitors, you have the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome.

We have helped hundreds of couples work out financial settlements over the years. Our goal is to make the process as smooth, straightforward and stress-free as possible for you. As Law Society Family Law Advanced Accredited specialists, we are qualified to advise on all types of financial situation, from straightforward cases to complex matters involving high value and international assets. We can help you decide:

  • How to split assets such as the family home, savings, investments and personal belongings (e.g. cars and furniture)
  • How bills and debts should be paid
  • How to split pensions
  • What should happen to any family businesses
  • Who should keep the family pets
  • Child maintenance payments
  • Spousal maintenance payments

We approach all matters pragmatically but with a sympathetic touch, particularly where children are involved. Once you have talked through all the issues, we will draw up a strong divorce financial settlement that sets out your agreement in writing and provide advice about applying to court to make your agreement legally binding.

With our negotiation skills on side, our clients rarely have to step foot in court, even where communication with their former partner is particularly challenging. However, if you do need extra support, we can help you access forms of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or apply to court for a range of financial orders.

Do you need to make a divorce financial settlement?

Yes.

The process of sorting out finances is separate to the process of filing the divorce petition or dissolution application. It is usually beneficial to complete the financial matters (referred to as the divorce financial settlement) before the divorce or dissolution is finalised for two main reasons:

  1. So you can officially bring an end to the relationship and move one without any further matters to sort out
  2. Because officially ending the marriage or civil partnership does not end you and your former partner’s financial obligations towards one another

The second point is particularly important because, if you do not sort out financial matters – either by making a voluntary financial settlement or by applying to court for a financial order – your former partner may be able to make a financial claim against you in the future.

While that may not seem like such of a risk now, what about if you get a large inheritance, set up a successful business or win the lottery? A financial settlement will prevent you or your former partner from making further claims in the future.

How are finances divided upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution?

The key point to bear in mind when discussing your finances is that the arrangement must be ‘fair’ to all the parties involved. This means that a 50-50 split may not always be the best solution because contributions to marriage are not always financial.

For example, a common scenario is where one partner gives up work to raise the children while the other works full time to provide for the family. These are both equally valid contributions to the marriage but if the finances are split 50-50 upon divorce, the non-working partner is likely to be financially worse off. A fairer solution might be to give the non-working partner a bigger proportion of the matrimonial assets and possibly set up a spousal maintenance agreement to recognise their non-financial contributions and help them maintain a suitable quality of life.

The division of assets upon divorce or dissolution is assessed using a range of factors, including:

  • Each party’s needs and financial resources
  • Each party’s income and earning capacity
  • The needs of any children
  • The standards of living the couple previously enjoyed
  • The couple’s ages and length of the marriage/civil partnership
  • Any physical or mental disability of either party
  • Each party’s role in the marriage or civil partnership, both financial and non-financial

A judge will always have the final decision about whether your financial settlement is fair so it is important to negotiate the financial settlement with the assistance of a specialist divorce solicitor or family mediator.

How are pensions divided upon divorce or dissolution?

Pensions are often the second highest value asset a couple owns, after the family home. There are a few ways you can split your pensions:

  • Each partner keeps their own pensions – this may be suitable where a 50-50 split is the fairest solution
  • Pension sharing – this is where you get a percentage of your partner’s pension transferred into your name (or vice versa). You need a pension sharing order from court to authorise the pension provider to make the transfer
  • Pension offsetting – this is where you get to keep a bigger proportion of the other matrimonial assets (such as the family home) to ‘offset’ the value of your partner’s pensions (or vice versa)
  • Pension attachment – this is where you become entitled to a share of your partner’s pension (or vice versa). However, the pension is not in your name, you will have no control over the policy itself and you will only receive your share once your former partner starts taking their share

Get in touch with our separation and divorce solicitors

For helpful, friendly and practical advice about separation, divorce and finances, get in touch with our divorce lawyers in Brighton or Hassocks or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.

For more information please contact a member of our team


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