Nowadays, more than ever, we are contacted by new clients who have ‘done a deal’ with their estranged spouse, and require a family lawyer simply to draft up their divorce settlement. This is often done to save paying a solicitor to negotiate especially when the parties’ finances are not complex and the divorce seems relatively amicable.
In many cases this is entirely appropriate; we often agree to limit our involvement in order to save clients’ money in legal fees. However all too often the finer details have not in reality been agreed and when this comes to light we are asked to advise in more detail, before a court order can be finalised. Advising on financial settlements is part of our daily work as family lawyers however we are unable to do this if we do not have enough financial information.
If financial information filters through gradually, as the lawyers ask more and more questions on the extent of the parties’ finances and their settlement proposals, this can be more time-consuming and therefore costly than if the information had been provided at the outset. Queries may emerge for example as to who is the legal owner of a particular asset, and the process of establishing this may not be straight-forward.
Anyone who has been through contested court proceedings before reaching their divorce settlement will be all too familiar with the court form known as the Form E. This is a comprehensive financial statement which parties in court proceedings must complete. Whilst it may not be necessary to provide such comprehensive financial disclosure in every case, completing this on a voluntary basis will at least ensure that your solicitor has the information available should he or she need it.
For advice on your divorce settlement contact our family law solicitors to arrange a free, initial consultation with no obligation.
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