One of the most important, not to mention difficult, issues to deal with when getting divorced is your finances. As well as taking care of the costs of the divorce itself, you will also need to make arrangements for the finances of you and your spouse following your separation. If you have any children, they will also need to be taken into account when making financial arrangements.
Best case scenario
The best case scenario in terms of finances is that you and your spouse are able to come to a voluntary agreement about what you want to do. If possible, it is always best to keep things amicable and come up with a solution that works for you both. If you are able to agree on what to do, your solicitor will be able to help you draw up a binding document that lays out the terms of what you have decided. However, whilst our solicitors always encourage divorcing couples to keep things as friendly as possible and try to reach an agreement between themselves, there are sadly many occasions when, in doing so, one spells, intentionally or not, takes advantage of the other. Even if you’ve reached agreement between you about family money – always, always take some independent legal advice from specialist Divorce Solicitors before committing yourself.
Family Mediation or Collaborative Law?
If you find that you can’t agree with your spouse on what to do about your finances[or indeed on any other aspect of the divorce], you should definitely make sure you instruct a specialist divorce solicitor. If yours is the kind of marriage where, despite the breakdown in your relationship, you can still talk and you are still both keen to try to reach an amicable settlement, but need a little help, you should consider trying either the family mediation or collaborative law approaches. Our team includes lawyers trained as both family mediators and collaborative lawyers – click here to find out whether either family mediation or collaborative law is right for you.
If the two of you can’t agree on a financial settlement, even with the help of your legal team, your solicitors may have to make an application to your local Divorce County Court to ask a judge to determine what to do about your finances.. Fortunately, even for those cases which go to court, most settle before a contested final hearing – a fully contested final court hearing is generally regarded as the last resort when it comes to making a decision, but it is sometimes the only way of settling a dispute and can in fact, on occasions, help couples to overcome their differences and reach an agreement that works for both of them.
No matter how you decide what to do with your finances, if you’re looking for a final settlement, the court will still need to approve any financial agreement you have reached and, in particular, the court will make sure that your proposed settlement is a fair division of assets based on your particular circumstances.
There are a variety of issues the court will look at when deciding whether to accept your settlement. This includes your respective incomes, financial resources and property. It also considers issues such as your future earning potential, any children under 18, your financial needs and responsibilities, your ages, your standard of living, whether either of you is disabled, your behaviour (where relevant), the contributions you have made to the home and family, the impact of the loss of benefits (such as pensions) on the ending of the marriage.
How long does it take?
In the event that you can’t reach a financial settlement and need to make a formal application to court, once you have issued the original application is, then court will normally set an appointment between 12 and 16 weeks after this date. You will need to attend this court hearing.
Before that appointment, you’ll need to fully disclose your financial circumstances in a long and complex document called “Form E”. Your solicitor can help you prepare your Form E.
This disclosure must be made at least 35 days before you attend the First Court Appointment. You will be asked to provide various financial documents, which could include but isn’t necessarily limited to:
• Mortgage statements and other documents relating to your home (such as recent valuation information)
• Bank statements dating back 12 months for all of your accounts
• Copies of payslips and your P60
• Information on debts and assets
• Information on values of pensions and insurance policies
• Details of investments and expected inheritances
• Information about any company or other business interests you might own
Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing
Following the First Appointment, another meeting will be arranged. This is called a financial dispute resolution appointment, which you will again need to attend. In this appointment, the aim is to reach an agreement between parties. If you can’t agree, one final appointment will be scheduled, at which a final order will be made by the judge.
This means that the quicker you are able to agree on a financial settlement, the less time it will take to complete.
If you and your partner, with the assistance of your respective divorce solicitors, are still unable to reach an agreed financial settlement, you may need to prepare for an attend a fully contested final hearing – where you will be expected to give evidence and may be cross examined by the barrister or solicitor appointed by your ex spouse. This can be expensive in terms of legal costs not to mention stressful. Fortunately, our team of highly experienced divorce solicitors have an excellent record of avoiding unnecessary contested hearings whenever possible, without ever failing to safeguard your interests.
Looking for a specialist Divorce Solicitor?
Whether you live locally to our offices,overseas or you are looking for an online divorce service, for clear legal advice you can rely on from a specialist DIVORCE SOLICITOR;
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