Advice regarding the division of matrimonial assets
If you and your spouse are divorcing, it is likely that you will need to deal with the division and distribution of your assets.
Many divorcing couples try to reach an agreement in respect of the division of their assets. However, dealing with your finances on divorce can be complex and often leads to disagreement. In any divorce financial settlement, there are many factors to be taken into account including how both of your income and housing needs will be met and what should happen to other assets including savings, investments, pensions, income, property and other matrimonial assets. In all instances, specialist legal advice should be sought.
Obtaining legal advice regarding matrimonial finances
When it comes to dividing your assets on divorce, there are a range of factors to take into consideration. These include:
- The needs of you and your spouse and any dependent children;
- The resources available to you and your spouse including property, savings and investments, income, pensions etc.;
- Your income and earning capacity;
- Your respective ages;
- The length of your marriage; and
- Your health.
Consideration will need to be given to all of the relevant circumstances of your individual case.
There are various different ways to resolve disputes relating to the division of matrimonial assets. Parties can reach agreement between themselves, if possible, negotiate via solicitors or try a range of different methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. If you are unable to reach an agreement then it is open to you, once mediation has been attempted, to apply to the Court for a Financial Remedy.
If you reach a financial agreement out of Court using any of the methods set out above, it is important that that agreement is formally recorded in a consent order which is approved by a Judge ensuring that your financial settlement is legally binding. The Court will consider whether the agreement you have reached is fair and equitable and does have the power to refuse to endorse consent orders if they are likely to disadvantage one or both of the parties. So, even where financial settlements have been reached by agreement or through ADR following a divorce, it is still beneficial for you to obtain legal advice to ensure that your consent order will be approved by the Court.
The Court has the power to make a wide range of orders in respect of the matrimonial assets including:
- The sale or transfer of property;
- Ordering the payment of lump sums;
- Pension sharing orders; and
- Orders that one spouse pay maintenance for the benefit of the other and/or the children of the family (if by agreement).
Ideally, there will be a “clean break” meaning that the matrimonial finances are dealt with on a final, once and for all basis with neither spouse having an on-going financial obligation to the other, except for in respect of child maintenance.
In some cases, however, particularly where there is a large disparity in the parties’ incomes, it may be appropriate for there to be an order for on-going spousal maintenance payments.
Do I have to have a consent order recording my financial agreement?
Whilst the Court will not force you to record your financial agreement in a consent order, in most cases, you would be strongly advised to ensure that a consent order is lodged and endorsed by the Court so that your financial settlement it legally binding.
If you do not have a consent order, both yours and your spouse’s financial claims against each other remain open. This means, at any point in the future, even many years after a divorce, either party can make financial claims against the other.
How we can assist with divorce and resolving financial matters
The team is ranked in Tier One by the independently researched publication, The Legal 500, and also includes Resolution accredited specialists who encourage separating parties to adopt a sensible approach to the division of matrimonial assets and financial settlements.
We provide specialist advice to a variety of divorcing clients, including high net worth individuals with complex business and personal assets to families and stay at home couples across the East Midlands, UK and overseas.
In our Family Law team, we have three trained mediators – Glynis Wright MBE, Gayle Rowley and Paul Richardson – and two accredited collaborative law solicitors – Emma Davies and Lisa-Marie Leanders – who have many years’ experience in providing in ADR in divorce and separation proceedings.
However, should Court action be required to come to an agreement regarding your divorce financial settlement, our solicitors are able to assist.
For more information on how we can assist with a financial settlement following a divorce, please contact our expert team of family law solicitors in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham via our online enquiry form or call 0800 024 1976 for a guaranteed response.
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