Finances & Financial Settlements (incl. Pensions)
The breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership can create a significant amount of stress on its own, let alone having to also consider the division of the finances. It is therefore important to seek expert advice on the division of the assets as early as possible which will also bring with it piece of mind and clarity.
The starting principle on divorce is an equal division of the marital assets, however, the Courts are able to exercise their discretion and can deviate from a 50/50 split by considering a number of factors which are outlined in the governing legislation: the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Examples include the length of the marriage, the ages of the parties and their respective earning capacities.
It is always advisable for parties to attempt to reach a fair and just settlement out of Court, however, it is appreciated that this may not always be possible. If no agreement can be reached, this could result in either party issuing financial remedy proceedings. These proceedings can be protracted and expensive but the parties would not be precluded from negotiating with one another. Indeed, this is actively encouraged and it is now a requirement that parties must attempt to mediate their issues prior to issuing proceedings, unless they fall within one of the exemptions.
If a settlement is reached between the parties, it is important for those terms to be embodied correctly in the terms of a financial ”consent order”. The order will, however, need to be lodged at Court for approval even if financial proceedings have not been issued. As a pre-requisite to this, it is necessary for there to be divorce proceedings up and running (and for Decree Nisi to be pronounced) before the Court will look at the draft order. It must be borne in mind that simply because an agreement may be reached between the parties does not mean that a Court has to approve it. Ultimate discretion rests with the Court. It is therefore strongly advisable for legal advice to be taken on any agreed terms as quickly as possible to avoid possible delays and additional costs.
The Courts are primarily concerned with fairness when considering the terms of a settlement. Provided these are deemed reasonable and adequately cater for the parties’ (and any child’s) needs, subject to individual circumstances, there is a good chance the settlement will be approved.
In the event there are no assets to be divided between the parties, it can still be beneficial for a ‘clean break’ consent order to be lodged at Court to prevent any future financial claims from being made.
Fixed Fee First Meeting
We offer a fixed fee half an hour appointment for clients at our offices during the course of which we provide advice on merits, courses of action available, procedures, time frames and costs and will also endeavour to answer any specific queries you may have. We will follow up that initial meeting with a letter/email to you summarising the topics discussed and information on the most appropriate ways to take your matter(s) forward. The fixed fee cost for this service is £200.00 plus VAT.
If you would like to discuss any family law matter with one of our solicitors, please contact us so we may fully understand your requirements. Contact us by phone on 020 7723 3040 or by email at email@example.com.