How the Financial Settlement Process Works
The settlement of financial claims arising on divorce (known as financial remedy) runs separately alongside the divorce proceedings. Whereas divorce proceedings can be relatively straightforward (provided both parties agree to it), financial remedy proceedings are usually the most complex aspect of any divorce.
The first stage in reaching a financial settlement is for both parties to exchange financial disclosure, which ensures that there is a complete picture of all assets, liabilities and income. This can take time and often involves input from other professionals (for example, actuaries in respect of pensions valuations, surveyors in terms of property valuation, accountants for tax and business concerns, etc.). Each party is under a duty to ensure that all disclosure is accurate, full and frank.
The Family Court has a wide discretion as to what orders it can make and, in doing so, takes a number of factors into account. These include present and future needs (for example, for housing and income), earning capacity, age, length of marriage, standard of living and any particular contributions either party has made. As a result it is vital that you obtain advice from an experienced family lawyer.
The court has the power to make lump sum, property sale/transfer, pension sharing and spousal maintenance orders (which are completely separate to child maintenance payments. It is important to understand that the court can only work with the assets in existence and, in certain circumstances, this will necessarily involve the parties having to adjust their lifestyle and housing expectations.
Helping You Reach the Most Cost-Effective Solution
It can be tempting to argue with your partner over every asset but doing so is often self-defeating, and ideally settlement of your financial claim should be sought as quickly as possible, in order to avoid incurring significant legal fees.
At Slater Heelis, we always strive to reach a negotiated agreement without going to court, and very few of our cases end up with a fully contested final court hearing. It is important to record any agreement in a court order so that the settlement is legally binding.
Call Our Divorce Experts for Advice Today
Our expert divorce lawyers can advise you on any matters relating to financial settlement. Please contact the team in our Sale or Manchester city centre locations on 0161 969 3131 or email a member of the team.