Financial Issues arising on Divorce
Deciding how family assets are divided between the parties involved in a divorce can be complex. Each case turns upon its own particular facts, and the Collaborative Law process can work particularly well to resolve such issues before the parties go to court. Please click here for more information on the process involving Collaborative Law, call 01284 763333, email
If however, the issue is taken to Court, a large number of factors will be taken into account when deciding how the matrimonial pot is divided up between two competing claimants. The Court considers all the circumstances of the case, and gives first consideration to the welfare of any children of the family under the age of 18. In particular, the Court has regard to the following matters:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future including, in the case of earning capacity, any increase in that capacity which it would be, in the opinion of the Court, reasonable to expect a person to take steps to acquire.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each party 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 ages of each party and the duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability.
- The contributions which each party has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
- The conduct of each party, if that conduct is such that it would be inequitable to disregard, in the opinion of the Court.
- The value to each party of any benefit which one party, because of the divorce, will lose the chance of acquiring (most usually pension provision).
The aim of the Court is to achieve fairness. Often a key factor is the reasonable needs of both parties.
Both parties must give full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances. Only when this has happened, can a Solicitor advise a client fully and properly on likely outcomes.
Many couples reach agreements over financial issues before they seek legal advice. A Solicitor cannot advise on whether such an agreement is appropriate for the client's needs and circumstances, unless information about both parties' financial circumstances has been disclosed.
Resolving the financial issues which arise between divorcing couples is probably the most time-consuming aspect of the case. Dealing with financial aspects is entirely separate and apart from dealing with the divorce process itself.
The legal jargon involved is totally different to the legal jargon involved in the divorce process. It can be daunting.
Financial questions can be resolved between parties through negotiation, after full and frank disclosure of each party's financial circumstances.
If no agreement can be reached or if one party is unwilling to disclose his or her financial circumstances to the other, then an application must be made to the Court. The Court will then determine how the case should be settled, following both parties having provided a mandatory form of full and frank disclosure, to the Court.
Before applying to the court, the parties should attempt mediation. There are exceptions to this rule, for example in cases where there has been domestic violence.
The timescale for resolving a contested financial application before the Court could be as little as four months or as long as eighteen months.
There are no hard and fast rules in this area of family law. Each case is judged on its own merits. There are many myths and misconceptions about financial proceedings, which a Solicitor can clarify and, in some cases, dispel altogether.
For assistance with financial issues contact Elizabeth Hodder at eah@gross.REMOVE-THIS-BARRIER-BEFORE-SENDING.co.uk or Julie McDonald at jm@gross.REMOVE-THIS-BARRIER-BEFORE-SENDING.co.uk.